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COVID-19 Resources for Nuclear Cardiologists & Radiologists

Posted on: 03.27.20 by Digirad

Nuclear Medicine departments and providers are being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in unprecedented ways. We’re closely monitoring the latest developments, and in this post we take a look at four areas that are impacting nuclear cardiology. COVID-19 Best Practices & Preparedness for Nuclear Cardiologists ANSC held an informative webcast this week with leading experts on the front line of nuclear cardiology. The presentation featured Dr. Sharmila Dorbala and highlighted COVID-19 preparedness and best practices for nuclear cardiologists. Key topics covered in the webcast included exercise stress vs. vasodilator testing procedures, patient screening, staff protection, and image interpretation/reporting. Click here… more >

Real Ways That Artificial Intelligence Will Change Cardiology

Posted on: 03.06.20 by Digirad

Artificial intelligence is developing rapidly in medicine, including in the field of cardiology. If you’ve been to conferences in the last couple of years, you’ve probably seen presentations on some aspect of artificial intelligence. Quite simply, AI involves computer systems performing tasks that usually require human intelligence. They do this using techniques like deep machine learning and natural language processing. AI is already seen in cardiology, performing tasks such as generating risk scores among patients. It is hoped that as AI develops further, it can help with improving the decision-making required on a daily basis, which has been proven to… more >

The SNMMI Value Initiative: What You Need to Know

Posted on: 02.20.20 by Digirad

Have you heard of the SNMMI Value Initiative? Founded by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI), the Value Initiative includes an industry alliance, of which Digirad is a member, providing a forum for the industry to work in partnership. We are excited by the strategic vision for nuclear medicine that the Value Initiative involves. Here’s a closer look at what it’s all about: What is the SNMMI Value Initiative? The Value Initiative is described as SNMMI’s roadmap and strategic vision for working with industry and other partners. It aims to advance the crucial role of nuclear medicine… more >

What Is the Difference Between SPECT and PET Imaging for Cardiology?

Posted on: 02.07.20 by Digirad

Cardiac imaging is a critical technology, particularly as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality for most developed nations. While SPECT remains the leading modality for cardiac imaging, PET has continued to see growing interest. Naturally, patients and physicians want to know if one is better than the other and what the benefits and limitations are. In this article, we’re examining PET vs. SPECT in terms of utility for cardiology. Here is our comparison: The technology Both PET and SPECT imaging use cameras that detect injected radiotracers. However, each type of imaging works differently: SPECT Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography… more >

End of Service and End of Life Notices for Your Imaging Equipment

Posted on: 01.16.20 by Digirad

Have you ever had an end of service or end of life notice for your imaging equipment? What did you do about them? The answer that seems to be common across a lot of medical practices is “nothing.” The notices often get filed away and forgotten. It’s common for no further thought to be given to them until there is an issue with the equipment itself. Then you can find you have more of a problem than anticipated. If we look at the recent Philips Forte recall, this is a cautionary tale of what can happen when end of service… more >

Technetium-99m Availability: Production and Industry Update

Posted on: 12.19.19 by Digirad

Overall this year, there has been some unsteadiness in the supply chain for Moly-99 (Mo-99), which in turn affects the supply of technetium-99m (Tc-99m). For operators of gamma cameras, availability of the radiopharmaceutical gives cause for concern. David Pellicciarini, Vice President, Pharmacy Safety, Practice & Technical Operations for Cardinal Health, spoke to us about the current situation with Tc-99m and what is expected in the future. Origins and nature of Tc-99m To understand why the supply chain is so sensitive, it helps to understand the Tc-99m production process. It is produced as a decay product of Mo-99. Mo-99 does not… more >

Mobile Imaging for Y90 Studies

Posted on: 12.12.19 by Digirad

If you diagnose or treat patients with liver cancer, then you’re probably familiar with the procedure for Yttrium-90 (Y90) studies. In short, the patient must go through a mapping process to ensure that the medical team gets the best possible information from which to treat them. This involves examining the vasculature of the tumor and the interventional radiologist may place coils or perform embolizations; a deliberate blockage of the vasculature to limit the blood flow to and from the intended area of treatment. With embolization complete, the patient is administered a radioactive particulate (99Tc-MAA) that is similar in size to… more >

Philips Forte Recall and Stop Use Order: What You Need to Know

Posted on: 12.05.19 by Digirad

If your practice is using the Philips Forte Gamma Camera, then you should have been in receipt of an urgent stop use notice as of September 19, 2019. Philips’ Senior Manager of Post Market Surveillance issued an urgent field safety notice to all users of the Forte family of cameras to discontinue use until further notice. This applies to all Forte cameras, including the Powerpack, the Jetstream, or systems refurbished by Philips. This obviously has a major impact across the imaging world – many of these cameras are still in regular use across the U.S., Canada and other countries. Here’s… more >

What Cardiologists Need to Know About Cardiac Amyloidosis

Posted on: 11.26.19 by Digirad

Cardiac amyloidosis is a systemic disease which affects the heart tissue. You may also hear it referred to as “stiff heart syndrome”.While it is relatively rare, if left unrecognized or untreated, it can progress to causing arrhythmias or congestive heart failure.Here is what cardiologists should know: What is cardiac amyloidosis? Cardiac amyloidosis is a disorder of the heart that is caused by an abnormal protein build up within the heart tissue. This protein build up or plaque makes it difficult for the heart to function properly. Amyloidosis itself is a group of diseases where the proteins (amyloids) clump and build… more >

Are You an EMT or Paramedic? A Rewarding Career in Nuclear Cardiology Awaits

Posted on: 11.14.19 by Digirad

Are you an EMT or Paramedicexploring your career options? Here’s something that may not have crossed your radar yet – you can transfer your skills to become a Cardiac Stress Technician (CST) for Digirad! A career in nuclear cardiology is challenging, yet rewarding. As a CST, you will think on your feet, use your critical care skills, and meet a wide variety of physicians and patients serving a mobile unit. Digirad offers regular hours without 48-hour shifts! Interested in hearing more? We interviewed Jonathan Flynn, a Cardiac Stress Technician with Digirad, who has more than two decades of experience in… more >

Y90 Therapy in Nuclear Medicine: What You Need to Know

Posted on: 10.31.19 by Digirad

Radioembolization with Y90 is a minimally invasive procedure primarily used in the treatment of liver cancer. In contrast to most nuclear medicine applications, Y90 is therapeutic and designed to treat rather than simply diagnose. It is estimated that 75% to 95% of patients see improvement from treatment, potentially extending their lives or improving survival rates. In this post we’ll take a look at Y90, what it is, and how it works. What is Y90? Yttrium-90 (Y90) is a commonly used isotope within the nuclear medicine and radiation oncology communities for radiation therapy. When used for the treatment, Y90 is relied… more >

Inside the ASNC SPECT Imaging Guidelines

Posted on: 10.18.19 by Digirad

The field of nuclear cardiology has expanded greatly over the last few years, prompting an update of the ASNC SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Guidelines. Updated guidelines were published in May 2018 and include newer generation cameras, processing techniques, and key topics such as radiation reduction. These guidelines have also been endorsed by SNMMI. A core tenet of the guidelines is giving clinicians a review of the available imaging tools in nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging and focusing attention on choosing the right test for the right patient at the right time. We caught up with Karthik Ananthasubramaniam, MD, one of the section… more >

SNMMI Highlighting PET/MRI and Therapeutics in Two Unique Events

Posted on: 10.10.19 by Digirad

Therapeutics and PET/MRI are both areas of intense focus and innovation in nuclear medicine. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is actively working to help members stay ahead of trends by holding two innovative conferences later this month that showcase these two topics. On October 25 – 27 in Las Vegas, attendees will take a deep dive into theranostics and learn the dynamics of adding a therapy practice to their services. Additionally, from October 26-28 in New York City, members will be able to participate in an innovative workshop dedicated to PET/MRI. These events feature leaders in… more >

How Nuctrac Is Allowing Nuclear Medicine to Move to the Cloud

Posted on: 10.03.19 by Digirad

It’s no secret that the ordering and management of radioisotopes for nuclear imaging is a complicated and often cumbersome process. Nuctrac™ is a new, cloud-based software tool that nuclear departments are leveraging to simplify and streamline these tasks. The Basics of Nuctrac’s Nuclear Medicine Cloud Developed by Cardinal Health, Nuctrac is a cloud-based system that helps nuclear medicine departments keep records, place orders, and manage compliance. Cardinal Health is a well known and leading provider for the sale and distribution of radioisotopes. For years they offered radiopharmaceutical management software but decided to reboot their whole effort and take it to… more >

After Stent Placement: What Happens with Patient Care?

Posted on: 09.26.19 by Digirad

Patient care after stent placement plays a critical role, both in their recovery and in preventing further issues. However, recent studies have found that many patients aren’t getting the care that they need post-placement. Just one in three patients enroll in recommended cardiac rehabilitation after their stent placement, according to a Michigan study reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. And yet, accessing aftercare may be one of the best things a patient can do to improve their health: “For reducing deaths and increasing quality of life, cardiac rehab exceeds any pill, any procedure,” says Dr. Daniel… more >

How Old Is Too Old for a Nuclear Cardiology Gamma Camera?

Posted on: 09.12.19 by Digirad

Is your practice running an older gamma camera and, if so, how old is “too old” when it comes to those systems? If you think that manufacturers simply want you to keep upgrading you’re right, but there’s much more to the equation. Here’s when you should be considering upgrading your old camera for a new model: 1. The camera is reaching the ten-year mark Technologists are very familiar with the cameras they use and any limitations that go with them, so what should cause them to decide it’s time to buy a new camera? One of the first things is… more >

CT, MR and the Current State of Technology for Cardiac Imaging

Posted on: 08.08.19 by Digirad

Technology and the modalities that drive diagnostic cardiology continue to see innovation and development. New technologies and advancements in cardiac imaging will have a direct effect on both cardiologists and patients as they move mainstream. In this post, we’ll look at what is happening with cardiac imaging technology: CT technology for Cardiac Imaging One of the significant developments with CT Technology is CT with FRR. Fractional Flow Reserve (FRR) is traditionally an invasive, guide wire-based procedure allowing clinicians to accurately measure blood pressure and flow through a specific part of the artery. With CT, it is non-invasive. A potential advantage… more >

Enhancing the Pediatric Patient Experience with Point-of-Care Imaging

Posted on: 08.01.19 by Digirad

If you work in children’s healthcare – especially within radiology and nuclear imaging department of the hospital – you know from personal experience that pediatric patients can be anxious around large machines, new people, and even the clinical environments of the radiology department itself. You’ve tried your best to make both children and their parents feel at ease, but you know that even the most soothing bedside manner can only do so much when dealing with children who are scared and don’t fully understand what’s going on. Point-of-care imaging is a proven way to make the imaging process easier for… more >

New Studies Highlight Innovations in Drug-Eluting Stent Research

Posted on: 07.18.19 by Digirad

The recently released Stent Market Report highlights steady growth happening in the stent industry. The global stent market is expected to reach an estimated $10.8 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 3.3% from 2019 to 2024. This growth is largely driven by increasing interventional cardiology and peripheral vascular procedures. There has also been a rising adoption of technological advancements in stents in an effort to reduce treatment duration for high-risk conventional surgical patients. Some emerging trends that are making their mark include increasing use of the bioreabsorbable stent, adoption of co-polymers as raw materials, and increasing adoption of bifurcated… more >

A Look Back at News from SNMMI 2019

Posted on: 07.02.19 by Digirad

The SNMMI 2019 Annual Meeting wrapped up last week and proved to be an informative and eventful event. The Digirad team was on hand during the show and enjoyed connecting with colleagues and customers in Anaheim, California. Here are some highlights from SNMMI 2019. Image of the Year & the Future of Theranostics One of the big stories from the show was the announcement of the Image of the Year. Each year, the SNMMI chooses an image that best exemplifies the most promising advances in the field of nuclear medicine. This year the award went to a team of researchers… more >

How Hospitals Can Reduce Risk By Limiting Patient Transportation for Imaging

Posted on: 06.28.19 by Digirad

Transporting patients for any reason, especially the critically ill, is a risky prospect. Yet there are a number of reasons why a hospital may need to move a patient. Imaging is just one of those, with patients being moved to different parts of the hospital or even off premises where needed imaging equipment isn’t available. For any clinic, managing or mitigating that risk is vital. Not only is it important for the care of the patient, but because hospitals increasingly are held responsible for any consequences of those risks. Where CMS used to cover incidents such as infections in patients,… more >

Key differences between a CZT gamma camera and a CsI imager

Posted on: 06.20.19 by Digirad

Signal detectors are a key component of any medical imaging technology. Many gamma cameras still in use today utilize technology that is more than 50 years old – the Anger-based analog technology. However, more modern options are available with solid state technology. Solid state comes in two main formats: either CZT or CsI. There is often confusion about what each involves and whether one is better than the other. Are there any significant advantages or disadvantages? Let’s take a closer look: What is solid state imaging? First of all, let’s go back to what was in use for SPECT imaging… more >

Three ways point-of-care imaging is changing radiology departments

Posted on: 06.06.19 by Digirad

Advancements in imaging technology have undoubtedly enhanced diagnostics and accuracy. However, there are still systemic challenges radiologists and clinicians face that impact the quality of patient care. These obstacles and challenges have led to an inevitable decrease in volume in nuclear medicine departments. How can we change this? Point-of-care imaging is giving radiology departments the ability to address challenges head-on with expanded service options and improved patient care. Innovations around point-of-care imaging are leading to increased volume and greater patient satisfaction. In this article, we will explore the specific benefits of point-of-care imaging that are shaping radiology departments. How Point-of-Care… more >

A Successful Stress Test Beyond Meeting Minimums

Posted on: 05.30.19 by Bryan Finnesand

The 85% minimum is well known for administering a stress test, but is it really achieving what you need? Are we best serving our patients if we push for that 85% minimum and no more? There are many reasons for a patient to go through an MPI stress test, with each patient having their own story and set of circumstances. Our view is that the best possible stress tests are planned in collaboration with the patient and take their individual case into consideration. There are other important factors to look at and some good reasons to go beyond minimums –… more >

How Outsourced Pre-Authorization Works and What to Avoid

Posted on: 05.23.19 by Digirad

How much time does your practice spend on pursuing in-house pre-approvals for nuclear imaging or other cardiology procedures? The pre-authorization process can be valuable for ensuring that a patient’s insurance will cover procedures, but on the other hand it can be frustratingly time-consuming. Many physicians and administrative staff are finding that the lengthy process of pre-authorization cuts their productivity and turnaround times for care. One solution to take these headaches off your hands is to outsource the pre-authorization process. A company such as MD Boss is able to take care of insurance authorization services without you having to commit more… more >

How is patient obesity affecting cardiac imaging?

Posted on: 05.16.19 by Digirad

Obesity rates in the United States are the highest in the world and a growing health concern. In fact, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control, 67% of men and 62% of women are overweight. Thirty-four percent of women and 28% of men could be further classified as obese. It’s a contributing factor in numerous diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, and coronary artery disease. Because obesity puts patients at greater risk for a host of other medical conditions, they’ll ultimately require more tests and scans during their lifetime in comparison to leaner patients. When it… more >

Are all SPECT MPI cameras the same?

Posted on: 05.13.19 by Digirad

It’s safe to say that SPECT is a well-established and widely used modality in diagnostic cardiac imaging. While some cameras may be younger than others or have more bells and whistles, is it also safe to say that they’re generally the same? With rapidly advancing technology, the real question comes down to how; How much more convenience and comfort does a particular model provide? How much higher is the image clarity and quality? How much faster is the scan time and how does that affect the radiation exposure to the patient? Overall, how much difference do these answers make in… more >

How Fluoresce Attenuation Correction is changing cardiology

Posted on: 05.02.19 by Digirad

Attenuation correction is a mechanism that removes soft tissue artifacts from nuclear images. The goal is to reduce the impact of attenuation in order to provide images that are more uniform and allow for higher reading confidence. Historically, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging was the only way to achieve attenuation correction and offered features that were, at one time, a distinct advantage over SPECT cameras. However, with the advancements in solid-state technology and attenuation correction methods, specifically Fluoresce Attenuation Correction (FAC), SPECT can now deliver higher quality, PET-like image resolution, greater diagnostic accuracy, and higher reading confidence than ever before…. more >

Is offering coronary flow reserve studies right for your practice?

Posted on: 04.25.19 by Digirad

Coronary flow reserve (CFR) is the ratio of resting coronary blood flow to maximum coronary blood flow. As a descriptor of myocardial blood supply, CFR suggests the ability of the coronaries to increase blood flow under stress. It’s a non-invasive test that could help rule out or measure multi-vessel ischemic Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Physicians primarily consider coronary flow reserve studies for cardiac patients who continue to be symptomatic after standard imaging and studies. Two factors that cardiologists often weigh when considering offering CFR are the frequency of which you’ll require the study and the overall clinical value of the… more >

How does the Digirad Cardius X-ACT+ compare to the GE NM 530c

Posted on: 04.18.19 by Digirad

On the surface, many solid-state SPECT camera systems may look similar. But, if you compare their individual design, functionality, and features more closely, you’ll see that they can differ significantly. Whether it’s the number of detectors, the method by which they image patients, the maximum weight they can support, or the size of the imaging sweet spot, your best decision will be made by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each model and manufacturer. In this post we compare the Digirad Cardius X-ACT+ to the GE NM 530c: SPECT Imager Comparison: Digirad X-ACT+ vs. GE NM 530c Comparison between the… more >

Six tips for reducing readmissions for cardiac cath procedures

Posted on: 04.04.19 by Digirad

Cardiac catheterization is one of the most common diagnostic procedures for heart patients. But, because of its invasive nature, it can carry a higher risk of patient-related and procedure-related complications. These complications can often lead to hospital readmissions which, under Medicare, not only serve as a performance measurement for hospitals and physicians, but also incur a steep financial penalty if they occur within 30 days of the procedure. How do hospitals that are continually looking for ways to cut costs, and physicians who are trying to find the most direct route to a solution work together to reduce the risk… more >

What is SPECT imaging and how does it work?

Posted on: 03.07.19 by Digirad

SPECT stands for single-photon emission computerized tomography. In layman’s terms, it’s a type of non-invasive nuclear imaging test that allows your doctor to see how well your internal organs are functioning. It uses a radioactive substance and a special gamma camera to create 3-D pictures of your organs at different angles. Gamma cameras like the Digirad Cardius® 3 XPO and the X-ACT+ employ advanced solid-state technology that uses a silicon-based photodiode, coupled with cesium iodide (CsI). The technology not only offers better sensitivity and high energy resolution, but it also makes the camera smaller in size than a traditional MRI machine. And, with… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: The case for decentralization of health care, radiopharma user rules, and more

Posted on: 02.21.19 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Do hospitals still make sense? The case for decentralization of health care From their humble origins as charitable almshouses for the poor and destitute who could not afford to receive care at home, hospitals have evolved into large, profitable, expensive, technology-laden institutions at the epicenter of the health care universe. Almost every community has at least one general centralized hospital, and most have more than one —… more >

What’s next for SPECT with Kathy Flood

Posted on: 02.14.19 by Digirad

After several years of reduced reimbursements and decreasing volumes, SPECT imaging has stabilized and is primed for growth. Digirad recently spoke with Kathy Flood, CEO of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, to get her viewpoint on SPECT imaging and where the modality is headed. “Volumes are not dropping as dramatically as they were in the past,” she said, “one factor in this is that people are recognizing the value of nuclear cardiology, and secondly we’re seeing increases due to the implementation of appropriate use criteria.” ASNC has supported their members with increased education on appropriate use, which is helping…. more >

UPMC Launches First Mobile Xe-133 Lung Ventilation Scan System in the United States

Posted on: 01.24.19 by Digirad

In a recent issue of Pediatric Insights, Michael R. Czachowski, MBA, CNMT, NCT, PET, ASCP(N), R.T.(N)(BD) (ARRT), discussed the idea and the execution of the first portable Xenon-133 lung ventilation exam performed in the United States on a patient in a pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. Czachowski is the supervisor of the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Departments at UPMC Children’s Hospital, where the groundbreaking procedure was performed. The process, which was implemented to allow technicians to perform portable ventilation lung exams in the CICU and to alleviate the need to move medically fragile patients to the nuclear medicine department,… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: New SPECT guidelines, radiopharmaceutical tracers for cardiac imaging, and more

Posted on: 01.17.19 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Researchers identify features least-sensitive to PET system variations Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria provided new guidance for selecting optimizing features from 18F-FDG-PET/CT studies—demonstrating feature variations can be minimized for selected image parameters and imaging systems, in a new study published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Laszlo Papp, PhD, and colleagues imaged a whole-body phantom with 13 PET/CT systems at 12 different sites…. more >

3 Critical Timing and Inventory Considerations for Interim Imaging

Posted on: 01.10.19 by Digirad

Interim imaging can be the answer to many of the challenges providers and hospitals face when it comes to managing their imaging needs. Successful execution of a short-term solution, however, begins in the planning stage. Here are some things you’ll need to consider: 1. Timing Requirements for Interim Imaging Preparing for the transition to interim imaging should start well in advance of the date in which it’s needed. In fact, contact with the rental provider should be initiated as soon as the decision is made to move forward with renovations or new imaging equipment. Although a four-month lead-time is ideal,… more >

Top 5 Posts from the Digirad blog in 2018

Posted on: 01.03.19 by Digirad

Digirad’s blog provides a variety of resources that keep you up to date on the ever-changing healthcare industry, including the advancements and issues that directly impact the operation of your practice. As we kick off a new year, here’s a look back at Digirad’s Top 5 Blog Posts from 2018: 5. 2018 ASNC SPECT MPI Imaging Guidelines Issued Recent advancements in SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging prompted ASNC to issue updated SPECT guidelines, which were published on May 25, 2018. The highly anticipated new guidelines, ASNC Imaging Guidelines: Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Myocardial Perfusion Imaging—Instrumentation, Acquisition, Processing, and Interpretation,… more >

Where does Cardiac PET fit in your current imaging offerings?

Posted on: 12.20.18 by Digirad

Offering in-house Cardiac PET imaging to your patients adds a new modality to your imaging toolbox. This modality can expand your services by offering another option for diagnostic imaging while potentially providing an additional revenue stream. If you’re thinking of adding Cardiac PET, it’s important to consider how the new modality will fit with your current imaging offerings. Think about how it could affect the level of service you provide and what its impact might be on your bottom line. Let’s take a look at where Cardiac PET fits in your current imaging offerings: Top-Level and Bottom-Line Considerations The addition… more >

Reimbursement Radar: How 2019 rule changes from CMS will affect cardiologists

Posted on: 12.13.18 by Digirad

On November 23, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the final rule changes for the 2019 calendar year. How will they affect nuclear medicine and your practice in particular? After all the noise in 2018, the changes were minimal. It seems that 2019 will be following suit: Hospital procedure rates remain nearly static On the hospital side, CMS has continued to evaluate and adjust the cost of procedures that are either under- or overvalued. The majority of nuclear medicine procedures will see a minimal increase of between 0.5% and 2.2%. The slightly more significant but far… more >

Can you outsource your nuclear lab accreditation?

Posted on: 12.06.18 by Digirad

IAC or ACR accreditation is a critical component of a quality assurance program and directly affects your reimbursements. Considered the industry’s gold standard, accreditation demonstrates adherence to strict national quality standards that ultimately ensure the highest level of patient care. Accreditation is an ongoing process The typical accreditation process can be completed in an average of 3 to 6 months and the designation is valid for three years. However, your practice must not only earn the accreditation, but it must also maintain it. Accrediting associations perform at least one audit per three-year period to confirm the continued delivery of high… more >

How to Reduce Gut Activity with Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Posted on: 11.15.18 by Digirad

We’re all familiar with the obstacles that radiotracers and subsequent gut activity presents during Myocardial Prefusion Imaging. When the radioisotope expands beyond the coronary arteries, it’s difficult to obtain quality SPECT MPI imaging of the heart. It’s a common problem that plagues many patients and physicians. So what do we do? We’ve heard of everything from half & half, cold water, and even a certain type of soda post injection to reduce the dreaded gut activity. Since we weren’t aware of any tried and true solution, we polled our fellow nuclear specialists on LinkedIn to see if they could provide… more >

Healthcare Quicklinks: Value based care, new ACC accreditation, patient collection mistakes, and more

Posted on: 11.08.18 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Physician practices seek help in transition to value-based care Physicians not affiliated with hospitals are increasingly turning to consulting firms to help them move into value-based care and accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to a new Black Book Research report. A survey of nearly 900 physician organizations showed that 68% of group practices of 10 or more doctors said they will seek “external advisement on financially and… more >

How patients and providers benefit from CT lung cancer screening

Posted on: 11.01.18 by Digirad

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths. One reason is that the signs and symptoms don’t present themselves until the disease has already progressed. By taking advantage of low-dose CT lung cancer screenings, high-risk patients can reduce their chances of dying from lung cancer by as much as 20%. Screening eligibility requirements Under the Medicare and Medicaid guidelines, a patient must meet the following criteria: Be between the ages of 55 and 77 Be asymptomatic of lung cancer Have a tobacco smoking history of at least a one pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per… more >

Practical pre-authorization tips for nuclear imaging

Posted on: 10.25.18 by Digirad

In today’s economy, everyone is looking to save money and reduce costs, including insurance companies. This has translated into an increasing level of scrutiny when it comes to ordering nuclear imaging studies. Pre-authorization is now an accepted part of the process, but the requirements and rules are getting more and more complex. In this post, we’ll take a look at ways to better navigate the process. The pre-approval process The pre-approval process is used by health insurance companies to verify that certain drugs, procedures, and services are medically necessary before they’re completed. The quickest way to gain approval is through… more >

DMS completes ISO-9001 Certification, certified mobile PET/CT provider

Posted on: 10.18.18 by Digirad

DMS Health Technologies, a leading provider of Mobile MRI, PET, and CT imaging, recently announced that it has obtained ISO-9001 certification. ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management systems (QMS). What is ISO-9001 certification and why does it matter? Organizations in various industries leverage the ISO-9001 standard as a way to demonstrate their ability to consistently offer products and services that meet these specific requirements. In the healthcare sector, standards help minimize errors, reduce redundancy, lower costs, and increase customer satisfaction. It’s critical for a provider like DMS to offer quality equipment to hospitals and bring the same… more >

MedAxiom Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference Preview

Posted on: 10.10.18 by Digirad

MedAxiom’s annual Fall 2018 CV Transforum Conference will be held in Austin, Texas from October 11-13, 2018. The Live Music Capital of the World will host over 6,800 physicians and more than 400 cardiovascular organizations as they come together to share information and experiences, network with their esteemed peers, and discuss key industry trends. Attendees will be introduced to transformational programs and hear from the nation’s top leaders. This year’s keynote presentation will focus on the state of our industry in a market that is being led and developed to support self-insured employers. Other general session topics include telehealth and… more >

What is the Role of Cardiac Cath in Value-Based Care?

Posted on: 10.04.18 by Digirad

It’s an undeniable fact that the move to value-based care is changing cardiology. Cardiac catheterization, in particular, has evolved as appropriate use criteria and value-based care have continued to advance in the healthcare system. This once go-to procedure is now being replaced by new methods and less invasive techniques. In this post, we’ll take a look at where cardiac cath fits in today’s value-based landscape. How we got here Years ago it was common for the cath lab to be the first stop for patients experiencing symptoms of cardiovascular disease. It was a valuable diagnostic procedure with solid reimbursements and… more >

How changes to Section 179 can positively affect your bottom line

Posted on: 09.27.18 by Digirad

If you own a private practice and are considering the purchase of new or pre-owned medical equipment, the recent revisions to Section 179 of the IRS tax code, which were included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, could offer some significant tax advantages. Here’s a quick look at some of the changes and how they might motivate you to make a purchase sooner than later. What is Section 179? Section 179 was added to the IRS tax code as an incentive for business owners to invest in themselves, grow their market share, and improve their chances for long-term success…. more >

5 Ways Cardiologists Can Increase Referrals From Primary Care Physicians

Posted on: 09.20.18 by Digirad

The patient volume that’s generated from physician-to-physician referrals is a significant factor in the success of any cardiology practice. In fact, some studies suggest that as much as 45% of new patients were received by referral. With a host of cardiologists vying for their referral business, primary care doctors need to feel some level of comfort in recommending one over the other. To earn the confidence of other physicians and, in turn, their referrals, you’ll need to actively work on differentiating yourself and your service from the rest of the pack. Here are some practical ways to increase referrals from… more >

How much does it cost to offer Cardiac PET?

Posted on: 09.13.18 by Digirad

As imaging technology continues to advance, Cardiac PET MPI is gaining more awareness in today’s clinical market. In recent years, the modality has seen growth and is generating interest among cardiologists. While the diagnostic benefits of Cardiac PET are clear, it’s important to understand the financials and investments needed to offer the service before making a commitment. In this post we’ll explore five aspects to consider as you evaluate Cardiac PET. 1. Equipment Requirements If you decide to offer PET imaging, you’ll need to choose between the purchase of a new imaging system, or refurbished. It’s common for pre-owned options… more >

How to leverage mobile imaging when facing a natural disaster

Posted on: 09.06.18 by Digirad

In times of disaster, the demand for immediate emergency healthcare services can quickly surpass an area’s capacity. Most disasters are localized, and residents who are sick or injured depend on the care, services, and expertise provided by the local hospital. It’s critical for the hospital system to have an effective recovery and management plan in place. Here are some considerations for designing a comprehensive, multi-faceted, and scenario-driven approach to disaster response: Disasters are unpredictable In the aftermath of a disaster, patients in need of care will instinctively head to the nearest hospital. Most disaster recovery plans address preparation for the… more >

Join Digirad at ASNC 2018 in San Francisco

Posted on: 08.30.18 by Digirad

Grab your suitcase and join Digirad at the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology’s 23rd Annual Scientific Session. From September 6 through 9, 2018, we’ll be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in the sunny city by the bay, San Francisco, California. This year’s theme, Bridging Quality Imaging and Patient Care, will bring together cardiologists, radiologists, practice administrators, and other healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss emerging research, new technology, and advances in nuclear cardiology. What’s new? Brand new for 2018 is show-stopping keynote speaker, Tait Shanafelt, MD, Director of the Stanford WellMD Center and international thought leader. He’ll share… more >

A Closer Look at the Digirad Ergo (Infographic)

Posted on: 08.23.18 by Digirad

Download a PDF version of this infographic

Medicare PET/CT Reimbursement for Oncology: What’s covered, what’s not

Posted on: 08.16.18 by Digirad

PET/CT is a vital diagnostic imaging tool and is especially effective in revealing conditions such as cancer and brain disorders. When it comes to Medicare coverage, there are a number of misconceptions about PET/CT reimbursements. In the majority of cases, PET/CT imaging is covered when clinically necessary, either as an initial treatment strategy or a subsequent treatment strategy. Few exceptions apply to specific breast and cervical cancer, and melanoma diagnoses. The initial treatment of prostate cancer is the only non-covered event. Below is a consolidated reference chart that details PET/CT insurance reimbursement for specific conditions. Tumor Type Initial Treatment Strategy… more >

7 critical considerations for practices considering de-integration

Posted on: 08.09.18 by Digirad

After a significant wave of practices choosing to merge with hospital systems, physicians are starting to consider de-integration and returning to private practice. It seems that integrated health care, the solution that many thought would be the answer to a variety of our healthcare industry’s challenges, might not have the impact or the endurance it was thought to have. As many healthcare organizations continue to expand, practitioners are contemplating their next step. Should they work together and become even more woven into the organization? Or, do they throw in the towel and start taking steps to re-establish their private practice? While… more >

Four important ways Cardiac PET Perfusion Imaging can affect your profitability

Posted on: 08.02.18 by Digirad

In today’s economic climate, practices are looking for additional services that will benefit their patients while also positively affecting their bottom line. Some cardiologists are exploring the idea of offering PET imaging at their facility. While convenient, in-house PET scans may not be the right fit for every practice. The smartest and most informed decision should take into account these four important factors. 1. Radiopharmaceuticals Consumables for cardiac PET are unlike those used for SPECT imaging. The two commonly available radiopharmaceuticals for the modality include a 13N ammonia based product and 82Rubidium. The exceptionally short half-life of the advanced ammonia-based… more >

World Lung Cancer Day – August 1st

Posted on: 07.26.18 by Digirad

This upcoming Wednesday, August 1st, is World Lung Cancer Day.  As healthcare providers, we feel that it is important to help raise awareness of the disease and discuss what can be done to combat it. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women – second only to prostate and breast and prostate cancer.  With over 234,000 new cases of lung cancer being diagnosed each year, the chances of developing the disease are 1 in 15 for men and 1 in 17 for women.  With statistics like these, it is… more >

2018 ASNC SPECT MPI Imaging Guidelines Issued

Posted on: 07.19.18 by Digirad

Recent advancements in SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging prompted ASNC to issue updated SPECT guidelines, which were published on May 25, 2018. The highly anticipated new guidelines, ASNC Imaging Guidelines: Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Myocardial Perfusion Imaging—Instrumentation, Acquisition, Processing, and Interpretation, incorporate the most up-to-date information and advancements in SPECT technology since the previous 2010 ASNC SPECT guidelines were published. Today’s SPECT technology effectively allows for exceedingly low radiation dose imaging, myocardial blood flow quantitation, and personalized imaging protocols. By leveraging the new advancements, the revised guidelines promote a more patient-centric and personalized approach that contributes to higher-quality imaging… more >

Four new revenue streams for cardiologists

Posted on: 07.05.18 by Digirad

Operating a financially successful practice requires a daily focus on operational concerns, but it also necessitates seeking new opportunities for revenue streams. Many cardiologists overlook opportunities to offer ancillary services that will boost practice income. Here are four revenue streams that could increase efficiency, referrals, and patient volume, while improving patient care and satisfaction across the board. As the market moves toward value-based services, these are worth considering: 1. Cardiac rehabilitation clinic After a cardiac event, many patients are hesitant, even fearful, of exercising. Consider establishing a cardiac rehabilitation clinic where patients can safely work out, raise their heart rates,… more >

Why you should rethink PET/CT imaging for prostate cancer

Posted on: 06.28.18 by Digirad

The large majority of the nuclear imaging community would be quick to point out that PET/CT imaging with either 18Fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG), or Sodium 18Fluoride (NaF18), is not effective in prostate cancer diagnosis. In fact, it’s not even approved for initial prostate treatment strategy. With oncology imaging, most other cancers are green-lighted for both initial and subsequent treatment strategies. Prostate imaging, however, is only approved in the latter. Radiopharmaceuticals and diagnosis Because prostate cancer is a slow growing, less aggressive disease, the common sugar-based FDG is not an effective agent for diagnosis, but it can be used appropriately to identify metastasis… more >

Understanding Your Nuclear Medicine Stress Test

Posted on: 06.21.18 by Digirad

Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, also called a Nuclear Stress Test, is used to assess coronary artery disease, or CAD. CAD is the narrowing of arteries to the heart by the build up of fatty materials. CAD may prevent the heart muscle from receiving adequate blood supply during stress or periods of exercise. This frequently results in chest pain, which is called angina pectoris. Perfusion imaging usually consists of stress and rest tests. Images are taken of your heart while at rest and after exercising or under stress. The comparison allows your physician to evaluate blood flow under different levels of exertion…. more >

Quicklinks: Hospital cost cutting, enhancing the patient experience, and more

Posted on: 06.14.18 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the operation and growth of your business. Here are some relevant conversations and important developments happening in our industry as of late: Hospital costs should be cut 24 percent by 2022 to break even, outsourcing may help, survey says Hospital leaders are exploring ways to outsource services to free up resources, and if the results of a new Black Book survey are any indication, this strategy will come none too soon. In order to break even, average hospital costs will have… more >

Visit Digirad at the SNMMI 2018 Annual Meeting

Posted on: 06.08.18 by Digirad

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2018 Annual Meeting will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from June 23 through June 26. Join the over 5,000 leading nuclear medicine and molecular imaging professionals, including physicians, radiologists, cardiologists, pharmacists, scientists, and lab professionals, who will visit the City of Brotherly Love to experience the world’s premiere scientific, educational, research, and networking event. This year’s conference was condensed to four days, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. Choose among more than 195 accredited CE and scientific sessions, 800+ scientific posters, and countless networking… more >

The role of PET/CT with pulmonary nodule workups: what you need to know

Posted on: 05.25.18 by Digirad

The two most common approaches after identifying a solitary pulmonary nodule are the wait-and-see approach, or to move straight to a biopsy. While medically sound, both of these paths present risks for the patient that could be solved with a PET/CT scan. It’s a common misconception in nuclear medicine that a patient must have a cancer diagnosis before a PET/CT scan can be ordered. While this is generally true, many physicians are not aware that a solitary pulmonary nodule that measures less than 4cm qualifies for a PET scan without a prior cancer-confirming biopsy. Avoiding Unnecessary Risks Lung nodules are… more >

Ergo brings advantages to First Pass scans in Canadian market

Posted on: 05.17.18 by Digirad

St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario is a teaching and research hospital renowned for providing exceptional patient care. The hospital’s Digirad Ergo Imaging System recently gained attention for its use in multi-gated acquisition scans (MUGA) combined with First Pass scans to assess both right and left ventricular function. An Ideal Paring The Ergo, a single-head gamma camera, performs the noninvasive diagnostic test that evaluates the percentage of blood pumped through the lower chambers of the heart. Because the First Pass and stress MUGA scans offer sensitivity as well as improved specificity to myocardial perfusion imaging, the study is an important… more >

QuickLinks: 4 ways to cut down on no-show patients at your practice, and more

Posted on: 05.10.18 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: 4 ways to cut down on no-show patients at your practice The Elmont Teaching Health Center, a federally qualified health center, cut its patient no-shows by 34%. That’s significant given that missed appointments cost up to 14% of anticipated daily revenue at clinics and can also result in longer wait times and can hurt care quality, health outcomes and patient satisfaction. The steps that Elmont took to… more >

The future of cardiac monitoring – what’s changing and what you need to do about it

Posted on: 05.03.18 by Digirad

Since the 1990s, cardiac monitoring devices have evolved from transmitting data via a phone line, to wirelessly, to now leveraging Bluetooth and cellular technology. Although the process of cardiac monitoring hasn’t changed significantly, the devices are much smaller, have fewer pieces, and are more comfortable for patients to use. Let’s take a look at where cardiac monitoring is headed and what the future holds. Back to the future… The most recent trend in cardiac monitoring relies on a tried-and-true method from the past – Holter monitoring. Many cardiologists and physicians have started using long-term Holter monitoring as a way to… more >

Seven mistakes to avoid when choosing between a new and refurbished nuclear camera

Posted on: 04.26.18 by Digirad

With the continual advancements in healthcare technology and service, investing in your cardiac practice, upgrading equipment, and improving efficiency is an ongoing process. One of the most significant considerations is not only when to replace a camera, but also if refurbished, or new equipment might be a better decision. It’s important to take the time to look beyond your immediate imaging needs and consider the long-term goals of your practice. Both refurbished and new camera systems come with advantages, but be sure to consider these factors before signing on the dotted line: 1. Focusing only on purchase price vs. the… more >

How practices are making the shift to Value-Based care

Posted on: 04.19.18 by Digirad

When you think about positioning your practice for success and overall sustainability, the transition to value-based care should be one of the first things that comes to mind. The shift from the fee-for-service model is no longer a trend, but a critical necessity in today’s healthcare environment. The value-based approach is the future of patient care and resisting–or even hesitating–will cost your practice the loss of potential revenue and overall viability. The central idea behind value-based care is to create a system that is not measured solely by services rendered. Its objective is rooted in redefining quality care by enhancing… more >

Five ways that cardiologists lose money each year

Posted on: 04.12.18 by Digirad

Every medical practice is a business and while improving their patients’ health is a physician’s ultimate goal, running at a profit is also critically important. The two may seem to be in direct competition with each other, especially when the healthcare industry is marked by escalating costs and a decline in reimbursement rates. It’s estimated that, on average, practices experience a 10%-15% profit leak. While each practice is different, that could easily amount to over $100,000 each year. Let’s look at the five most common areas where money may be slipping through the cracks. 1. Billing and Collection Inefficiencies Collecting… more >

MedAxiom 2018 CV TransForum Conference – Event Preview

Posted on: 04.05.18 by Digirad

MedAxiom, the nation’s leading community-based cardiovascular performance organization, will hold its 2018 CV TransForum Conference on April 12-14 at the iconic Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Industry leaders from across the nation will come together to discuss industry trends, advancements in technology, examine practical business applications, and share best practices. The conference itinerary is packed with unparalleled learning opportunities that ultimately focus on increasing the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of both your business and patient care. With relevant general sessions and a variety of breakout presentations, attendees will explore the challenges we currently face and strategies to… more >

PET/CT Imaging New Tracer Guide

Posted on: 03.30.18 by Digirad

The landscape of PET/CT imaging is rapidly changing. Traditionally, physicians have used a sugar based radiopharmaceutical, 18Fluorodeoxyglucose or 18FDG, to perform the majority of PET/CT imaging. Over the past 20 years, this imaging agent was the only option available to many facilities across the United States. Recent breakthroughs in research, reimbursement, and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing have made it so that physicians and patients will begin to have access to medicine that is designed for their unique situations. RECENTLY APPROVED TRACERS Prostate Cancer Indication Axumin (18F-Fluciclovine) is indicated for PET imaging in men with suspected prostate cancer recurrence based on elevated blood prostate… more >

How to know if Cardiac PET makes sense for your practice

Posted on: 03.22.18 by Digirad

Cardiac PET has been used as a diagnostic imaging tool for a number of years, but has recently seen an increase in interest among cardiologists. When evaluating a considerable investment, such as Cardiac PET, it’s critical to look beyond the buzz and know for sure if it’s the right choice for your practice. Let’s take a look at Cardiac PET and some ways to see if it makes sense for you and your practice. The Basics of Cardiac PET Although most commonly used when imaging certain Oncology patients, PET cameras can potentially be of benefit to cardiologists for a segment… more >

Intraoperative benefits of Ergo touted in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery

Posted on: 03.15.18 by Digirad

The portability of the Digirad Ergo Imaging System is making a significant impact in the pediatric oncology world. The Journal of Pediatric Surgery recently published an article on its intraoperative use. Most notably, it reported on how nuclear imaging with the Ergo effectively reduces the time under anesthesia and offers real-time confirmation of lesion removal. Digirad recently spoke with Dr. Marcus M. Malek of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, to further elaborate on the study. Single environment reduces time under anesthesia In order to guide lymph node biopsy, pre-surgery lymphatic mapping is done via lymphoscintigraphy. Adults and teens are generally able… more >

Move from HEU to LEU Nearing Completion in the United States

Posted on: 03.08.18 by Digirad

Technetium (Tc-99m), the decay product of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), is an essential component in cardiac nuclear imaging. In the past, the primary source for this radioisotope was highly enriched uranium (HEU), but market dynamics and legislative action have changed that. The last five years have seen a sustained move to low-enriched uranium (LEU), and the United States is expected to be fully transitioned to LEU by the end of 2018. The Call for Change The American Medical Isotope Protection Act of 2011 was enacted to not only promote the domestic production of molybdenum-99, but to replace the role of HEU in… more >

A Closer Look at the Digirad X-ACT+ (Infographic)

Posted on: 03.01.18 by Digirad

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Diversified Molybdenum-99 Production Easing Supply Concerns

Posted on: 02.22.18 by Digirad

In recent years, there’s been a heightened focus on the supply of Molybdenum-99, the radioisotope used in nuclear diagnostic imaging. Previous regulatory and capacity issues have caused shipment delays, but today the outlook for molybdenum-99 supply has never been stronger. Reactors step up production One unlikely catalyst for the turnaround has been the closing of Canada’s National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Chalk River, Ont., in 2016. At its closing, Chalk River produced nearly 30% of the world’s supply of molybdenum-99. The nuclear medicine community feared that the shortfall would jeopardize the supply. Not only did the remaining world reactors… more >

Domestic Supply of Tc-99m Isotope, CMS focuses on Illegal Billing, and more

Posted on: 02.15.18 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: FDA Clears Path For First Domestic Supply of Tc-99m Isotope On February 8, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) took steps to ensure a stable and secure supply of a critical radioactive imaging product used to detect potentially life-threatening diseases. The FDA approved the RadioGenix System, a unique system for producing Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope in… more >

What’s next after the cancelation of Episode Payment Models

Posted on: 02.08.18 by Digirad

After much debate, countless delays, and requests from providers to have more involvement in the process, CMS has canceled Episode Payment Models and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model. While these payment models have been withdrawn, CMS’ focus on value-based care has not changed. Back to the drawing board The stated intention of original programs was to create payment models that help improve quality and care coordination while, at the same time, lower spending. The cancellation of Episode Payment Models and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model will now offer the CMS greater design and testing flexibility and the opportunity… more >

ASNC 2017 Year in Review by Raymond Russell

Posted on: 02.01.18 by Digirad

In 2018 ASNC will be celebrating their 25th anniversary. As the year began, ASNC’s 2017 President, Raymond Russell, wrote an excellent post to Members looking back at the achievements of 2017. Digirad values the role ASNC plays in Nuclear Cardiology, and we look forward to collaborating with ASNC in the new year. Here’s Dr. Russell’s post: —- It is hard to believe that the year is over-it has gone by in a blink of the eye. However, during that eye blink, the members and staff of ASNC have done an incredible amount of work to support the appropriate use of… more >

Is a single-head camera acceptable in today’s market?

Posted on: 01.25.18 by Digirad

As nuclear cardiac imaging technology has evolved, gamma cameras have graduated from single-head to multiple-head detector technology. Although single-head SPECT cameras are not necessarily obsolete, there are an increasing number of drawbacks if you choose to continue using it to diagnose cardiac patients. Dual-head cameras reduce scan time by half, simply because there are two heads. Each rotation is only 90 degrees compared to a single-head that is responsible for the full 180 degrees. A triple-head camera can complete a scan in about one-third of the time of a single-head camera. The popularity of Gated SPECT In years past, higher… more >

Smart ways to take advantage of the ASNC ImageGuide Registry

Posted on: 01.18.18 by Digirad

Launched in 2015, the ASNC ImageGuide Registry is the first national registry developed to support non-invasive cardiac imaging and reduce the increasing regulatory reporting burden. It effectively promotes and ensures continuous quality improvement for referring physicians, technologists, and laboratories by improving efficiency, elevating the level of patient care, and reducing downstream costs. With equal weight, it was designed with the desire to build a database that spurs new research that will, in turn, grow and expand the nuclear cardiology field. Why is it important to physicians? Across the entire healthcare insurance industry, plan payers are continuously moving toward value-based purchasing… more >

Despite the noise, CMS changes in 2018 will be minimal for Nuclear Medicine

Posted on: 01.11.18 by Digirad

CMS recently released the Physician Fee Schedule final rule for 2018, and after an eventful year, many nuclear cardiologists are wondering what 2018 will bring. While 2017 witnessed extensive changes to CMS rules, MIPS reporting requirements, and the highly-debated QPP final rule, it appears that dramatic changes are not on the horizon for 2018. A Focus on Quality Improvement In spite of all the debates, discussions, and general noise, there are no significant changes that will affect nuclear cardiologists in the 2018 rule. Current projections are seeing a 4.5% increase in PET procedures and a minimal increase, nearly static, in nuclear… more >

Where to get Nuclear Medicine CME credits in 2018

Posted on: 12.21.17 by Digirad

One of the requirements for Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) or American College of Radiation (ACR) accreditation renewal is the successful completion of 15 continuing medical education (CME) credits per physician and the 15 continuing education units (CEU) per technologist. It’s important to note that the credits must be specifically relevant to nuclear medicine. This critically important detail is often overlooked and can lead to a practice being cited for non-compliance. In order to have enough time to complete the appropriate number of courses, it’s essential that physicians and technologists begin the continuing education process early. One CME/CEU is equal to… more >

How to set-up a QPP compliant reporting mechanism

Posted on: 12.14.17 by Digirad

Are you overwhelmed thinking about creating QPP compliant reporting? Well, you’ll be relieved to learn it’s not very different from the way in which you previously reported your data, especially under the Quality category. CMS does require different reporting thresholds and specific information for certain reporting mechanisms, however. You’ll have to capture additional information that was not included, so you’re not totally off the hook. Quality measures Under QPP, quality measures account for 60% of the MIPS composite score, so it’s critical to choose and report on the measures that will best fit your practice. Review the quality measures outlined… more >

How to reduce False Positives with SPECT MPI imaging

Posted on: 12.07.17 by Digirad

A false positive is an abnormal test result that unnecessarily promotes a patient to the next level of testing. It’s problematic, especially in today’s economic environment, because it places an additional cost burden on patients, the healthcare system, and insurance companies. It also exposes patients to higher risk invasive procedures, additional discomfort, and is ultimately an inefficient use of time. As the healthcare industry moves closer toward value-based billing, there are even more pressing concerns. Soon the actual number of false positives will impact your facility’s quality scores, which will threaten the level of your reimbursements and affect your bottom… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: Avoiding practice embezzlement, new CMS rules, and more

Posted on: 11.30.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Warning signs to look for to avoid practice embezzlement Theft and embezzlement is widespread, and it occurs more often in healthcare than in most other industries, amounting to $25 billion in annual losses for medical practices, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. A 2009 survey by the Medical Group Management Association found that an astounding 83% of practice administrators have been associated with a practice where… more >

How mobile imaging is changing healthcare in rural areas

Posted on: 11.16.17 by Digirad

Years ago, all hospitals were primarily independent, but recently we’ve seen more consolidation in the healthcare industry. The consolidation has largely been driven by new economic realities, which have pressured hospitals and clinics to band together and create their own partnerships or merge with larger hospital systems, in order to survive. Patients are being drawn out of smaller communities Smaller, rural facilities are being significantly impacted by the consolidation trend as well. While creating or joining a larger organization generally results in more money to fund needed improvements and garner greater negotiating power, it may also be unintentionally promoting smaller,… more >

The basics of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) and what it means for your practice

Posted on: 11.09.17 by Digirad

In an effort to move away from fee-for-service payments and put more emphasis on quality of care, CMS unveiled the new Quality Payment Program under The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The program’s goal is to improve reporting and ultimately change the way clinicians are paid for their services under Medicare. Quantity can no longer be the driver when quality is the sacrifice to getting there. The new QPP is a major step in improving care across the entire healthcare system. Back to basics Participation in the QPP program is gained through the physician’s choice of… more >

What to do when your volumes are low and you still own a camera

Posted on: 11.02.17 by Digirad

During the late 1990s and 2000s, many practices chose to purchase a cardiac camera. Reimbursement rates were consistent, testing volumes were high, and from both a patient care and an economic perspective, it made sense to invest in the equipment. Shortly thereafter, a series of changes in the industry made ownership more challenging. Major insurance companies instituted a cut in nuclear cardiology reimbursements, payers implemented strict imaging pre-authorization requirements, and additional accreditations became required to operate a nuclear lab. These shifts in the market have made ownership more challenging for physicians that still own their nuclear camera. While many practices… more >

Four ways MACRA can hurt your practice

Posted on: 10.26.17 by Digirad

MACRA requirements have many physicians throwing up their hands in frustration. Extensive changes to their reporting and practice structure are creating a scramble to both understand the rules and create systems to comply. While some are hoping for a legislative fix, the program is in place and here to stay. Ignoring MACRA will only cost your practice time, money, frustration, and will delay the opportunities for benefits that the program allows. Many practices are unsure of exactly what the rule will mean for them so we’ve compiled four different ways that MACRA can hurt your practice. 1. Possibility of lower… more >

How do Mobile Cardiac Telemetry systems work?

Posted on: 10.19.17 by Digirad

Mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) is a cardiac monitoring method that uses a small portable device to monitors a patient’s cardiac activity. It records the patient’s heartbeat as they run errands, exercise, and sleep. How exactly does it work, though? How is the data captured and what happens if their heart starts beating too fast, or they feel a few palpitations? We’ve put together a summary of what happens when a physician prescribes an MCT monitor: The setup When a physician orders an MCT device for a patient, they’ll also register the patient with their cardiac monitoring provider. The patient will… more >

How is PET/CT different from traditional PET imaging?

Posted on: 10.12.17 by Digirad

Today, most of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners you find in hospitals, or delivered via mobile imaging, are actually PET/CT cameras. Modern PET/CT scanners combine both PET and Computed Tomography (CT) scans almost simultaneously to provide a greater amount of clinical data to assist in the diagnosis process. Combining the benefits of PET and CT A PET/CT scan includes two parts: a PET scan and a CT scan. The CT portion of the scan produces a 3-D image that shows a patient’s anatomy. The PET scan demonstrates function and what’s occurring on a cellular level. The PET scan is… more >

How to reduce your dose with SPECT MPI studies

Posted on: 10.05.17 by Digirad

Advancements in medical imaging technology have revolutionized health care, allowing doctors to more accurately diagnose disease using SPECT for MPI scans. Any time a physician orders an imaging scan, however, there is always concern about the level of radiation exposure. ASNC and SNMMI are raising the bar with their guidelines, and the industry as a whole is moving toward a low dose standard. What does that mean and how will that change impact your practice? Here are some resources that will help you better understand and adopt a low dose protocol. Implementing a low-dose protocol (link) If you are considering… more >

Four ways MACRA can help your practice

Posted on: 09.28.17 by Digirad

For the foreseeable future, MACRA requirements are in place and here to stay. While many are scrambling to understand the new rules and perhaps complaining about the changes it brings, one simple fact is clear: ignoring MACRA will directly cost you money. Conversely though, the program also offers unprecedented opportunities for medical practices. Embrace it, and the benefits the program brings, are yours sooner than later. Although complicated, MACRA does indeed provide means for good news to medical practices. Here are four ways MACRA can help your practice… 1. Elimination of Sustainable Growth Formula MACRA replaces the payment formula set… more >

New study explores the significant impact of attenuation correction on downstream costs

Posted on: 09.21.17 by Digirad

Attenuation artifacts present a challenge when interpreting SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) studies. Advanced technology has been able to significantly improve diagnostic accuracy through attenuation correction. A team of doctors at Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut explored the impact of attenuation correction on clinical decision-making and its effect on the cost of downstream testing. The goal of the research was to determine if the use of attenuation correction reduced the need for downstream cardiac testing and thus decreased the overall cost of care. The findings of the study on the impact of attenuation correction were featured at the… more >

What is the best cardiac monitoring system for a small practice?

Posted on: 09.14.17 by Digirad

Cardiac monitoring systems come in many shapes and sizes. From Holter to telemetry to EKGs, there is a system to meet your needs whether you’re a hospital or a small practice. If you’re seeking to add cardiac monitoring, upgrade your equipment, or change providers, you’ll need to weigh a few key factors and answer some important questions before making a decision. Payment and Ownership Options A popular choice for smaller practices is to utilize a service where the monitors are provided without a direct expense and only billed when the equipment is used. Patients are set up with the device… more >

22nd Annual ASNC Scientific Session Begins September 14

Posted on: 09.07.17 by Digirad

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology kicks off their 22nd Annual Scientific Session in Kansas City, Missouri. ASNC 2017 will be held from September 14th through the 17th at the beautiful Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. This year’s highly interactive programming will provide specialized physicians, scientists, technologists, nurses, and many others professionals from around the world with the latest information on nuclear cardiology, its emerging trends and techniques. The specialized curriculum will review cutting edge scientific advances and provide opportunities to learn from the most experienced and well-respected educators in the nuclear cardiology and cardiac imaging industry. Alongside… more >

Accountable Care Calls for High-quality Imaging from Nuclear Cardiology – Frost & Sullivan Report

Posted on: 08.29.17 by Digirad

Frost & Sullivan recently published a white paper titled Accountable Care Calls for High-quality Imaging from Nuclear Cardiology that addresses the role payment reform is playing, and how it could potentially affect what constitutes a well-rounded modality and ultimately the best equipment for accountable care. The paper acknowledges the introduction and planned expansion of new bundled payment structures for complete episodes of care. It also points out that cardiovascular conditions are at the forefront of the payment reform and that any imaging procedures will need to justify their contribution to the care pathway by showing value in the patient outcome…. more >

A Closer Look at Solid-State Gamma Technology (Infographic)

Posted on: 08.24.17 by Digirad

  Download the PDF version of this infographic  

Understanding your QRUR

Posted on: 08.22.17 by Digirad

CMS’ Quality and Resource Utilization Report can be used to gauge performance in the same way as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and the Value-Based Modifier (VBM) programs. What is the QRUR? The new Quality and Resource Utilization Report (QRUR) is a report that was developed by CMS to provide cost performance and quality of care feedback to participants and to provide comparisons against national peer benchmarks. Why is the QRUR important? In assessing a practice’s individual performance as it relates to cost and quality of care, it can help providers identify opportunities for improvement and help maximize current… more >

How to prep a site before offering mobile CT, PET

Posted on: 08.17.17 by Digirad

Whether it’s used while you upgrade and remodel, to accommodate increased volume, or for disaster recovery, a mobile CT or PET/CT unit might be the ideal solution either on a short-term or long-term basis. Independent of the mobile imaging provider you choose, there is some lead-time needed to prepare your facility for the service from a regulatory standpoint as well as from a site planning position. Regulatory requirements Adding a mobile CT unit to your facility requires the x-ray tube to be registered with the state and an annual evaluation performed by a licensed physicist. Some states also require initial… more >

MACRA implementation timeline and key dates you should be aware of

Posted on: 08.10.17 by Digirad

While 2017 and 2018 are transition years for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), there are several key dates of which to be aware. Adequately planning and preparation will offer you the best chance of success in 2019 when benchmarks and reporting begin to substantially affect your reimbursements. Here’s a timeline of important dates to keep in mind: 2017 January 1: Start of the 2017 performance year March 31: 1st snapshot of APM participation list for 2017 performance period June 20: Last day to register to participate in MIPS for the 2017 performance period June 30: 2nd snapshot… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: MPI imaging in women, proposed 2018 MACRA Proposed Rule, and more

Posted on: 08.03.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Myocardial perfusion imaging in women for the evaluation of stable ischemic heart disease This document from the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology represents an updated consensus statement on the evidence base of stress myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), emphasizing new developments in single-photon emission tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) in the clinical evaluation of women presenting with symptoms of stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD). The clinical… more >

Best practices for coding nuclear medicine scans

Posted on: 07.27.17 by Digirad

In recent years, billing for nuclear scans as it relates to coding, has been modified to more accurately reflect the provider services and thus, reimbursement for patient care. We are finding, however, that in internal medicine offices or cardiology groups, where there would likely be fewer conversations about these changes than in a nuclear practice, more clarification may be needed. Decoding the billing code process To be clear, the coding itself has not changed, but who can use designated codes have changed. Medicare is very specific as to the way in which they require the submission. The most confusion comes… more >

What is Fluorescence Attenuation Correction?

Posted on: 07.20.17 by Digirad

Attenuation correction is a process that identifies and corrects for soft tissue artifacts in SPECT images. Ultimately, the goal is to minimize the visual impact of attenuation in order to provide images that more accurately portray the distribution of imaging agent in the patient. This results in higher reading confidence, improves diagnostic accuracy, and lowers the incidence of false positive studies thereby reducing the number of unnecessary diagnostic cardiac catheterizations. Traditional attenuation correction methods Historically, there were two primary methods of attenuation correction, line source, and CT. While line source attenuation correction is a valid method and is still currently… more >

Circumferential Intravascular Radioluminescence Photoacoustic Imaging ​(CIRPI) system​ debuts at SNMMI

Posted on: 07.13.17 by Digirad

Dr. Raiyan Zaman recently spoke at the 2017 SNMMI Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado about a revolutionary system that will dramatically improve the early clinical diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD). The idea that launched the CIRPI System The Circumferential Intravascular Radioluminescence Photoacoustic Imaging (CIRPI) system is the result of an idea that Dr. Zaman jotted down on a scrap piece of paper one evening so she wouldn’t forget about it in the morning. Thinking about her research, she wondered about the composition of atherosclerotic plaques, which she hadn’t entertained before and considered adding a photo echo-stick to… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: The ambulatory approach, CMS Bundled Payment Rules, and more

Posted on: 07.06.17 by Digirad

The ambulatory approach There is no disputing the move toward outpatient procedures in the invasive cardiac procedural space. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) shifted from 365,788 inpatient procedures in 2004 to 201,142 inpatient procedures in 2014. This dramatic change represents a 45% decrease in inpatient procedures. Similar numbers can be seen in the electrophysiology service line; from 2004 to 2014, inpatient pacemaker implantations decreased by 49%. According to the Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary report, 2014 was the first year that physicians were paid by Medicare for more outpatient than inpatient invasive cardiology procedures. Continue reading… CMS issues final rule to delay some… more >

What are the PQRS requirements?

Posted on: 06.29.17 by Digirad

The Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) repealed the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) reimbursement formula and replaced it with the new value-based reimbursement system called the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The program includes the choice between two major tracks: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). QPP and its effect on PQRS The Quality Payment Program essentially adopted the quality measures and reporting methods from the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Modifier (VBM) programs. Although there are some changes to the PQRS reporting methods, the quality reporting methods… more >

Key requirements for a mobile CT provider

Posted on: 06.22.17 by Digirad

Most hospitals offer CT imaging services in-house, but there are times when bringing in a mobile imaging service on a provisional basis makes more sense. Whether you’re remodeling your CT imaging space, your equipment requires repairs, or you need help managing a backlog, provisional imaging can be a smart decision. Vendors become an extension of your hospital One of the most important things to keep in mind, however, is that any vendor you partner with becomes an extension of your hospital. Your patients should not be able to make any distinction between the level of service delivered by the hospital… more >

What is MIPS?

Posted on: 06.15.17 by Digirad

The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is the highly anticipated replacement for the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) program. Slated to begin in 2019, the new payment system will negatively and positively adjust individual payments based on provider performance and ultimately demand the highest quality of patient care from healthcare professionals. How does your performance compare? A mean performance score of all MIPS-eligible professionals during a given time period will establish a benchmark score. Each participating physician will then receive a combined performance score of 0-100, based on their individual performance in each of the four categories: Quality (30 points):… more >

Three approaches to offering imaging services at a satellite office

Posted on: 06.08.17 by Digirad

Opening a satellite office is an excellent way for cardiologists to expand their reach within a community and grow their patient base. But what level of services should you be offering at the satellite offices? Imaging is often one of these question marks. Sure, it would be great to provide full ultrasound and nuclear imaging services, but equipment and staffing for diagnostic imaging require a sizable capital investment. Knowing the options will help you minimize the pitfalls and position yourself for the best chance of success. We’ve identified three options that practices take when considering how to offer imaging at… more >

Two primary types of Mobile Diagnostic Imaging for Hospitals

Posted on: 06.01.17 by Digirad

Hospitals choose mobile diagnostic imaging for a variety of different reasons, from lack of space to increased volume or remodeling of their radiology facility. There are many different types and styles of mobile imaging so it’s critical to know your options and the different paths you can take if you’re thinking about traveling down this road. Let’s start with the two categories of mobile imaging, provisional and mobile. Provisional Provisional mobile imaging is typically utilized by hospitals that are experiencing a temporary disruption or short-term need for CT, PET, PET/CT, Nuclear and various other modalities. Often, facilities that choose this… more >

What is MACRA?

Posted on: 05.25.17 by Digirad

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) was signed into law on April 16, 2015. It was designed to incorporate the approximately 20 “doc fixes” to the 1997 Balanced Budget Act’s flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment system. Repealing the SGR provision Most notably, MACRA repealed the controversial SGR payment system, a fee for service reimbursement model that would have significantly reduced physician salaries, and replaced it with a two-track payment system, the Quality Payment Program (QPP), that will be tied to performance. It will significantly impact the way physicians and healthcare providers are paid under Part… more >

SNMMI Annual Meeting – Show Preview

Posted on: 05.17.17 by Digirad

Have you registered for the 2017 Society of Nuclear and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting? You won’t want to miss the most highly anticipated, educational, scientific, research and networking event in nuclear medicine, especially since it’s being held in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Mark your calendar for June 10-14, 2017, when you’ll join your colleagues in the Mile High City. The Annual Meeting will host over 5,600 attendees including molecular imaging and nuclear medicine physicians, radiologists, cardiologists, pharmacists, scientists, lab professionals, and technologists. They’ll be representing the world’s top medical and academic institutions from 60+ countries around the globe. This year’s… more >

How mobile Women’s health facilities are changing the hospital landscape

Posted on: 05.11.17 by Digirad

Patients are expecting better service from physicians and hospitals. Compounded by the new quality measures that are heavily weighted on patient experience, hospitals are recognizing the need to make changes. If patients don’t report a positive, comfortable or reassuring experience, then providers’ quality scores decline, and it negatively affects reimbursement payments. What’s changing? The patient experience is a combination of both environment and equipment. A 2015 study of veteran women reported that environmental elements were critical to having a positive experience. At the same time, quality and current technology should be a standard expectation. Environments In women’s health facilities, substantial… more >

QuickLinks: MIPS, PET Radiotracer design, bone scan guidelines, and more…

Posted on: 05.09.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Docs risk reputation damage by reporting minimal MIPS data This year, physicians can avoid a payment penalty in the Medicare Quality Payment Program by simply submitting a minimal amount of data. But that small amount of data could cause a bigger problem in 2019. In the first year of the program, under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), physicians can ease their way into the… more >

Meet the new X-ACT+

Posted on: 05.04.17 by Digirad

Digirad is proud to introduce the new Cardius X-ACT+ Imaging System. We’ve taken the X-ACT camera and completely redesigned it to offer more patient-centric features and deliver significant benefits while reducing the cost burden to the healthcare system. Technology The X-ACT+ is the only SPECT/FAC MPI system that features a combination of solid state detectors, rapid imaging detector geometry, low dose fluorescence x-ray attenuation correction, advanced 3D-OSEM reconstruction techniques, and TruACQ Count Based Imaging™. 
It offers high definition, high efficiency, unparalleled clinical accuracy—all while lowering the patient’s radiation dose. Ergonomics In addition to the state-of-the-art technology, many of the camera’s… more >

Practical ways to make your Ultrasound Lab more efficient

Posted on: 04.27.17 by Digirad

Experiencing a deficit or a surplus of valuable time between procedures is all too common for most ultrasound labs. Both of these factors impact the overall efficiency and profitability of the practice. The problem can be traced back to either the practice or the patient and their role in managing the appointment process. Communicating the details Communicating and understanding how in-depth and time-consuming a particular test is are significant factors when ordering studies. It’s critical for physicians and schedulers to communicate specifics about the patient, including what the procedure is and how long it will take. Many times a test… more >

NC Today: Kathy Flood outlines the highlights of this year’s program

Posted on: 04.21.17 by Digirad

This year, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology will host its 2017 NC Today: Best Practices for Today, Innovations for Tomorrow program from April 20 through April 23, 2017 at the Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. “This meeting is very different from our annual meeting in that we really focus on the topics that are particularly relevant and helpful to our attendees in everyday practice. It is designed with the goal that they will be able to expand and improve what they are currently doing in practice and take some ‘aha’ moments back to their nuclear lab, and start… more >

Three reasons hospitals use provisional CT, MRI, or PET Imaging

Posted on: 04.20.17 by Digirad

Most hospitals offer CT, MRI, and PET imaging services in-house, but there are times when bringing in a mobile imaging service on a provisional basis makes more sense. What is provisional imaging? In traditional mobile imaging, a technologist visits the hospital or clinic on a weekly basis and transports the equipment back and forth with each visit. With provisional imaging, the equipment is left at the facility for a longer period of time, typically three to six months or more. Hospitals may choose this service option for a number of reasons: 1. Remodeling the CT imaging space or purchasing a… more >

A Preview of ASNC’s NC Today Conference

Posted on: 04.18.17 by Digirad

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) will hold its highly anticipated 2017 NC Today meeting from April 20 – April 23, 2017 at the Lowe’s Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois. The Best Practices for Today, Innovations for Tomorrow program will draw cardiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, nuclear technologists, radiologists, and other nuclear cardiology professionals from all over the world who are interested in in-depth, case-based training that will and help them lead their teams in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare environment. Why Should I Attend? With healthcare’s growing emphasis on value, whether it’s on how quality care will be assessed… more >

QuickLinks: Physician revenue streams, congressional updates, and medical isotope updates

Posted on: 04.13.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Physicians should rethink their revenue streams Ancillary services can boost practice revenue and be a major convenience for patients, but regulatory challenges and competition from hospitals and other players mean that physicians need to think more strategically than ever about their service menu. Payers are increasingly steering physicians to large third-party facilities for traditional ancillaries such as lab work as the insurers chase economies of scale. Regulations… more >

How does the QuantumCam rate as a general purpose nuclear camera?

Posted on: 04.06.17 by Digirad

How does the QuantumCam rate as a general purpose nuclear camera?

For hospitals or healthcare systems with limited imaging equipment budgets or with limited space, a general purpose nuclear camera is a critical component of their service offering. Because of this, finding the highest quality and most versatile general purpose nuclear medicine camera is a top priority. The QuantumCam is a dual detector, variable angle, total body, SPECT and general purpose nuclear medicine camera. As the most lightweight and smallest camera of its kind, it offers a large field-of-view and delivers all the flexibility you would expect from a dual head, variable angle camera. Full range of imaging modalities QuantumCam has… more >

Should I buy a nuclear camera or use a mobile service?

Posted on: 03.30.17 by Digirad

The choice between purchasing a nuclear camera or using a mobile service is an important decision for your practice. There is a broad range of factors that shape the decision, and following a “cookie cutter” formula is not recommended. Understanding the unique dynamics at work in your practice can shed light on which choice is best for you and your patients. Let’s explore some key data points to review: Study volume Study volume is an important metric when considering purchasing a nuclear camera vs. contracting with a mobile provider. On the low end, 60 studies per month could technically support… more >

Diagnosing Syncope: Event monitors vs. MCT

Posted on: 03.23.17 by Digirad

Syncope, also known as fainting, is a temporary loss of consciousness and is characterized by its quick onset and short duration. Although the majority of people can say they’ve passed out at least once in their lives, it can also be a sign of a more serious condition. Diagnosing Syncope: Event monitors vs. MCT In an attempt to diagnose unexplained syncope, physicians will typically choose to prescribe either an event monitor or an MCT monitor. Both have the ability to record a symptomatic episode as well as automatically trigger a non-symptomatic episode recording if the patient’s heart rate is too… more >

QuickLinks: Outpatient centers, amyloid scans, PQRS and more

Posted on: 03.16.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Outpatient centers reflect growing health care trend The outpatient centers that have opened in the past two years at the Long Ridge Health and Science center reflect an ongoing migration of medical services from hospitals to smaller facilities closer to homes and workplaces. And the investment in the outpatient model continues to accelerate, as patients and medical professionals have embraced the evolution. “This is patient driven,” said… more >

How to know if mobile CT is right for your hospital

Posted on: 03.09.17 by Digirad

High-volume medical practices and hospitals typically allocate space for procedures including PET and CT imaging systems. The decision to assign valuable space is warranted by the high number of procedures they schedule each day. For smaller practices and lower-volume rural hospitals, however, the decision is not as straightforward. Here are three factors that shape the decision to either purchase and staff in-house equipment or use a mobile service: 1. Capital Constraints Like most equipment, PET and CT imaging systems are expensive, so you need to determine the best, most cost-effective approach to providing this service to your patients. When evaluating… more >

MACRA: Meaningful Use, PQRS and what lies ahead for reimbursements

Posted on: 02.23.17 by Digirad

The complicated nature of MACRA’s rollout may have left some healthcare providers behind, but significant changes are on the horizon, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the changes. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, better known as MACRA, affects all practices — big and small — and the mandates already in place will affect the bottom line of your practice in 2017 and beyond. These new rulings apply to all physicians, physician assistants, nurses, anesthesiologists and other healthcare professionals, so it’s important to understand what’s quickly coming down the pike. Meaningful Use and MACRA Now in its final… more >

Understanding the requirements of a Quality Improvement (QI) program

Posted on: 02.16.17 by Digirad

Understanding the requirements of a Quality Improvement (QI) program

Maintaining a successful and accredited nuclear lab requires a consistent Quality Improvement program. However, many practices may be intimidated by what they believe to be a highly detailed and complicated process. The truth is, maintaining a successful QI program is easier and more straightforward than you think. The accreditation process is intended to be adaptable in order to continuously accommodate medical advancement. As such, there is a lot of flexibility to enable your program to work within the parameters of your own lab, no matter what the size. Six components of a successful Quality Improvement program There are six components… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks: Bundled payments, MACRA, isotope supply and more

Posted on: 02.09.17 by Digirad

Healthcare QuickLinks: Bundled payments, MACRA, isotope supply and more

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: CMS releases final rule detailing bundled payment models for cardiac services In an attempt to encourage coordinated care, improve the quality of care and decrease costs for heart attack patients, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the final rule for Advancing Care Coordination Through Episode Payment Models, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model, and changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model that finalize… more >

6 tips for keeping your nuclear lab profitable

Posted on: 02.02.17 by Digirad

6 tips for keeping your nuclear lab profitable

Nuclear laboratories in physician offices and hospitals require expensive equipment, trained staff, plus the costs of isotopes and other pharmaceuticals. These factors may be major contributors to a lab’s costs, but there are many other opportunities to consider for increasing the bottom line. Here are six tips that can make a big difference in the profitability and efficiency of your nuclear lab: 1. Lab space Consider the size of your current lab space. Is it larger than it needs to be? New equipment often requires a smaller footprint and the updated technology would likely allow you to accommodate higher patient… more >

Digirad Sonographer published in Journal of Vascular Ultrasound

Posted on: 01.26.17 by Digirad

Digirad is proud to announce that sonographer Adam E. Jackson, RDCS, RVT’s recent reports on splenic artery aneurysms and spontaneous hepatic artery dissection were published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Vascular Ultrasound. The rarity of both cases, coupled with the use of ultrasound versus the typical CT, MRA or endoscopic modality, made his findings even more notable. Case I – Splenic Artery Aneurysm Case I was a young, healthy female, age 38, who was diagnosed with multiple splenic artery aneurysms. A splenic artery aneurysm is a dilation in the splenic artery, the blood vessel responsible for… more >

Proper comparison is key when considering supine vs. upright imaging

Posted on: 01.19.17 by Digirad

Cardiologists and their patients are learning more than ever about the benefits and limitations of supine vs. upright positioning for nuclear diagnostic imaging. While horizontal, face-up scans taken while patients are lying flat is the traditional method, upright imaging is a well-established method that has gained popularity, most likely due to the comfort and ease of use it offers to both the patient and the technologist. Proper comparison is the key Although both approaches have pros and cons, the key to proper image analysis is the comparison with a system-matched, multi-site, low-likelihood normals database. Due to the differences in anatomic… more >

Healthcare Quicklinks 1701

Posted on: 01.17.17 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Cardiovascular biomarker score helps identify atrial fibrillation patients at risk of stroke, death An analysis of a randomized trial found that a cardiovascular biomarker score may help predict the risk for stroke, systemic embolic events and death in patients with atrial fibrillation. The biomarkers were cardiac troponin I, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide and D-dimer levels. Lead researcher Christian T. Ruff, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard… more >

Digirad’s Top 5 Blog Posts from 2016

Posted on: 01.12.17 by Digirad

Digirad’s blog provides a variety of resources that keep you up to date on the ever-changing healthcare industry, including the advancements and issues that directly impact the operation of your practice. As we kick off a new year, here’s a look back at Digirad’s Top 5 Blog Posts from 2016: 5. Section 179 tax savings medical equipment In today’s competitive environment, it’s important to continually reinvest in your practice so you can provide patients with the highest quality of service. Through Section 179 of the IRS tax code, the U.S. government provides a way to encourage small business owners to… more >

What referring physicians need to know about breast density

Posted on: 01.10.17 by Digirad

It’s increasingly understood that dense breast tissue is an area of concern for women’s health. Not only is a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer greater with the highest density, it also can mask small masses along with increasing medical evidence that woman with higher breast density have a higher cancer reoccurrence rate. To date, 29 states have passed laws that require patients with dense breast tissue to be notified through some level of formal communication. Unfortunately, however, the rules and regulations vary greatly across each state. This has created uncertainty and confusion both for the patients and medical providers…. more >

Are all MCT’s Created Equal?

Posted on: 01.05.17 by Digirad

As cardiac monitoring technology has developed, mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) has proven to be the most effective method for identifying and managing patients with asymptomatic arrhythmias, complete syncope, medication titration, post CABG, and post ablation. But are all MCT devices the same? The short answer is no. The next generation of MCT The Telerhythmics TCAT3 is a mobile cardiac telemetry device that incorporates the most industry advanced features and is supported by a staff of seasoned clinical experts. The device includes onboard patient compliance technology, is flexible, single component, and easy to use. The clinical features include Beat-to-Beat Analysis and… more >

What types of positions does Digirad hire?

Posted on: 01.03.17 by Digirad

Digirad is a diverse company that offers unique career opportunities for medical professionals. From seasoned veterans to recent college graduates, we’re looking for the most qualified medical professionals in our industry. So, what types of positions does Digirad hire? Let’s take a look… Nuclear Medicine Career Opportunities Most of our positions are in mobile healthcare, so you should be a self-starter, enjoy being on the go, and working independently. Tech savviness is a must as we use technology to submit reports and communicate with the home office. We’re looking for energetic, professional candidates with strong communication and customer service skills… more >

Renew Your ASNC Membership Before Dec. 31st

Posted on: 12.20.16 by Digirad

Your membership in the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the only professional organization dedicated to the field of nuclear cardiology, provides you with access to valuable resources that help you achieve your nuclear cardiology career goals. Complimentary subscriptions, access to the Advocacy Action Center, discounts for the ASNC annual meetings, free continuing education opportunities, and inclusion in the online membership directory are just a few of the benefits you’ve enjoyed during the past year. As the end of the year approaches, so does the deadline for your 2017 ASNC membership renewal. Be sure to renew online and pay your 2017… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks 1610

Posted on: 12.15.16 by Digirad

Risk model performs poorly at predicting atrial fibrillation An analysis of electronic medical records (EMRs) found that a previously validated risk model for predicting atrial fibrillation did a poor job predicting atrial fibrillation. The model underpredicted atrial fibrillation in low-risk individuals and overpredicted atrial fibrillation in high-risk individuals. The model was developed in 2012 in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology-Atrial Fibrillation (CHARGE-AF) trial. Lead researcher Matthew J. Kolek, MD, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues published their findings online in JAMA Cardiology. Continue reading… CMS launches final MACRA rule The Centers for Medicare… more >

Digirad named as top 10 fastest growing healthcare solutions provider

Posted on: 12.08.16 by Digirad

Digirad Corporation was named one of Insights Success Magazine’s 10 Fastest Growing Healthcare Solution Provider Companies for 2016. With the US Healthcare industry rapidly evolving in the advancement of technology, digital media, and mobile devices, Digirad is setting the industry standard in delivering convenient, effective, and efficient healthcare solutions on an as needed, when needed, and where needed basis. Why Digirad? Digirad’s portfolio of services and diagnostic imaging products continually improve healthcare performance, optimize outcomes, and enhance the patient experience. The company is highly respected for its diverse offering of mobile healthcare solutions including Mobile Nuclear Cardiology, Mobile Ultrasound, Remote… more >

Upcoming Nuclear CME credit opportunities from ASNC

Posted on: 12.06.16 by Digirad

ASNC’s educational programming is at the core of the society’s mission to provide optimal nuclear cardiology services. The organization offers a variety of courses including interactive web-based activities for CME and CE credit that are designed to increase learners’ competence in the field of nuclear cardiology. These online activities include Meetings on Demand that present digital recordings of live meetings providing on-demand access to some of ASNC’s most popular courses, Journal CME/CE articles, and Self Assessment Modules (SAMs) that allow you to measure your knowledge in nuclear cardiology, and Webinars. With the end of the year quickly approaching, here are… more >

How web-based PACS are benefiting Radiologists and Cardiologists

Posted on: 12.01.16 by Digirad

Advancements in online PACS have eliminated the need for cumbersome equipment and large workstations that previously tethered your reading capabilities to a single location. These cloud solutions make the management of information more convenient and more economical. As a result, cloud-based PACS are becoming an attractive upgrade for many hospitals and physicians. Let’s look at the five key ways a cloud-based PACS could benefit your practice: Multiple Modalities Cloud-based PACS can be used for a wide range of radiology and cardiology test modalities. These include Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology, CT, Cardiac Cath, Echo, Vascular, General Ultrasound, MRI, and PET. No… more >

Quick Links No. 1609

Posted on: 11.23.16 by Digirad

What MACRA’s ‘go at your own pace’ could mean for providers The shift to value-base care has fueled discussion among many experts who claim providers do not have enough time or resources to succeed under a pay-for-performance system. A Deloitte 2016 survey found 50 percent of physicians have never heard of CMS’ Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, and a Medscape survey found 59 percent of physicians in practices with less than 25 clinicians expect to receive a performance penalty as high as 4 percent under MACRA. Failure to meet CMS’ reporting standards could result in hefty fees… more >

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of CFR testing with SPECT

Posted on: 11.17.16 by Digirad

Coronary Flow Reserve (CFR) quantification, used in conjunction with Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI), can potentially help to rule out Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Coronary Flow Reserve compares the myocardial blood flow at peak hyperemia (stress) with the myocardial blood flow at rest. Currently, most coronary flow reserve testing is performed during cardiac PET imaging, but advancements in technology and the software used to process the data are enabling SPECT cameras to perform CFR evaluation. The lower overall cost of SPECT makes this improvement a promising development for patients and the healthcare system. While this is a positive step, there are… more >

How to compare cardiac monitoring options

Posted on: 11.10.16 by Digirad

Cardiac monitoring is focused on the collection and interpretation of a patient’s heart rhythm. Different technologies have been developed to accomplish this goal, each with different features and methods for collecting the data. These methods include: Holter A Holter monitor is a short-term, continuous monitoring device that tracks the heart rhythm of a patient with small electrodes that attach to the skin. The devices are typically worn for 24–48 hours and then returned for download and analysis. Event Event monitors offer longer term monitoring in which the patient can trigger a recording if they are feeling symptomatic. Some event monitors… more >

RSNA 2016 Show Preview

Posted on: 11.03.16 by Digirad

Grab your winter coat and join us in the Windy City for RSNA’s 102nd Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, from November 27 through December 2. More than 51,000 total attendees are expected at RSNA 2016, including 26,000 healthcare professionals, representing more than 130 countries. These radiologists, medical specialists, administrators and staff will share experiences, network and explore new ways to collaborate. From discovering unexpected learning opportunities to broadening participation in the larger medical community, this year’s theme encourages radiologists to envision their profession beyond imaging. RSNA 2016 will feature 435 educational courses and more than 1,700 scientific paper presentations in… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks No. 1608

Posted on: 10.27.16 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Having an irregular heartbeat does increase risk of heart attack, major study finds One million people in Britain who suffer from an irregular heartbeat are also at greater risk of heart attacks, heart failure and chronic kidney disease a new study has shown. Previously it was thought that atrial fibrillation only significantly raised the risk of suffering a stroke. Oxford University and MIT in the US analyzed… more >

MedAxiom Fall TransForum Conference Preview

Posted on: 10.25.16 by Digirad

MedAxiom’s TransFORUM Fall ’16 conference will be held October 28-30 at the JW Marriott in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas. Participants will have the opportunity to network with esteemed peers from hundreds of programs across the nation and connect with executives, consultants and industry representatives that are all part of the growing MedAxiom community. Digirad recently spoke with Ryan Graver, President of MedAxiom Ventures, about the upcoming conference. He shared his excitement around two of the topics that are fueling this year’s record-breaking attendance–bundled payments and MACRA. They’ve dedicated an entire pre-conference session that will address the next stage… more >

Screening options and recommendations for dense breasts

Posted on: 10.20.16 by Digirad

The topic of breast density is gaining attention lately. To date, 29 states have mandated some level of formal communication to inform women not only of their mammogram results, but also their breast density level. In the battle against breast cancer, there is a growing need and demand for patients to be educated about breast density and their potential need for additional imaging. What is breast density? Upon completion of your last mammogram, you may have received a letter informing you that you have dense breasts, and you may be wondering – what does this mean? Breasts are made up… more >

Changes to IAC Nuclear/PET Accreditation Standards

Posted on: 10.13.16 by Digirad

2017 updates: What you need to know The Standards and Guidelines for Nuclear/PET Accreditation are instrumental in effecting the quality of patient care that the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) is committed to maintaining. As an accreditation organization, they work hard to ensure their program strikes a balance between the changing needs of the medical community as well as the general public. Periodically, the IAC standards are reviewed by the Board of Directors and revised as necessary. On September 15, 2016, the IAC released an updated version of the IAC Standards and Guidelines for Nuclear/PET Accreditation, which will become effective on… more >

Is isotope shortage still a concern?

Posted on: 10.06.16 by Digirad

The supply and pricing of isotopes in the market has been gaining attention for some time now and for good reason. Nuclear medicine is dependent on a continuous supply of technetium, and the market doesn’t seem to be offering any outward sign of comfort. Cause for concern? In short, yes, isotope supply issues continue to be a concern in the marketplace. Currently, there is a push to move to low enriched uranium (LEU). The U.S. government has already set a mandate to move away from highly enriched uranium (HEU) source molybdenum (99Mo), which is used to make technetium-99m, the radioisotope… more >

European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Show Preview

Posted on: 09.29.16 by Digirad

The 29th Annual European Association of Nuclear Medicine Congress will be held at the Barcelona International Convention Center on October 15 – 19 in Barcelona, Spain. One of the most valuable nuclear medicine meetings in the world, it offers 130 sessions and hosts more than 5,500 participants from around the world who will have the opportunity to network with colleagues, learn about new advancements and trends in the industry and be introduced to the newest groundbreaking technology. The meeting will combine the best of science and interactive learning with the beauty of Barcelona, one of the liveliest cities in Europe…. more >

Understanding the differences between Ultrasound or MBI for Breast Imaging

Posted on: 09.22.16 by Digirad

If you were told after your last mammogram that you have dense breast tissue, your doctor may have recommended additional imaging. One of the details included in the mammography report from the radiologist to your doctor is information on how “dense” your breasts are. Breast density is assigned one of four categories: A – the breasts are mostly fatty B – there are scattered areas of fibroglandular density C – the breasts are heterogeneously dense which may obscure small masses D – the breasts are extremely dense which lowers the sensitivity of mammography Breast density may increase your risk of… more >

Healthcare QuickLinks No. 1607

Posted on: 09.20.16 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Advances in Cardiology Will be Made by Integrating New Data Sources and Technologies US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf is calling on cardiologists to embrace new technologies and data sources, such as genetic sequencing, regenerative medicine, personal electronic devices and social media, in order to improve patient outcomes moving forward. Califf, himself a renowned cardiologist, makes the call in an editorial published in the August… more >

See the all new X-ACT+ at ASNC 2016

Posted on: 09.15.16 by Digirad

Digirad is redefining nuclear imaging… again. In early 2017, Digirad will introduce the all-new, completely redesigned X-ACT+ camera to the nuclear imaging industry. With its new features and benefits, the groundbreaking SPECT/FAC camera will offer more accurate test results while reducing the cost burden to the system. You’ll no longer have to choose low specificity SPECT in order to avoid the high costs of other imaging methods. With the X-ACT+ you’ll never settle for less. It’s everything you love about the Digirad X-ACT camera plus: High Specificity Attenuation Correction Low Dose Improved Patient Ergonomics Be the first to catch a… more >

When is it time for a new nuclear camera?

Posted on: 09.08.16 by Digirad

When is it time for a new nuclear camera?

If you have an aging nuclear gamma camera, you’ll soon be faced with a number of important decisions that will affect the direction of your business. Over time, cameras show signs of wear and tear, many of which can be addressed through maintenance. At some point, however, when multiple, more critical issues arise, or when outdated technology leaves you at a service disadvantage, it may be time for a replacement. Is your camera at that point? Below are some of the more important questions to consider: Is your camera… Over ten years old? Nearing or at its end-of-life? Difficult to… more >

ASNC2016 and Board Preparation Course

Posted on: 09.01.16 by Digirad

Are you scheduled for the upcoming Nuclear Cardiology Board Exam? In conjunction with ASNC 2016, The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology will offer their Nuclear Cardiology Board Preparation Course on September 21-22 in Boca Raton, Florida. The review course is designed to prepare participants for the certification and recertification exam in nuclear cardiology, as well as provide a broad overview and discussion of nuclear cardiology topics. The course will revisit physics, instrumentation, radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals, stress testing, risk stratification, acquisition and processing, Gated Perfusion SPECT, Radionuclide Ventricular Function Imaging, artifact recognition, assessment of myocardial viability and radiation safety. It will… more >

Ready for freedom? You Have Options.

Posted on: by Digirad

Ready for freedom? You Have Options.

Are you an EMT or paramedic who’s tired of 48-hour shifts, working every other weekend, or missing dinner with friends because you’ve just finished a double shift? Crazy schedules may be fine for the short-term, but it wears on you over time whether you realize it or not. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to work weekends; Monday through Friday would be a typical work week, holidays would be spent with family, and “on-call” would be banned from your vocabulary. Your skill set gives you options You may think your particular skill set is best suited for a hospital… more >

ASNC 21st Annual Scientific Session – Event Preview

Posted on: 08.25.16 by Digirad

ASNC 21st Annual Scientific Session - Event Preview

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology will host the 21st Annual Scientific Session on September 22 – 25, 2016, at the Boca Raton Resort in sunny Boca Raton, Florida. This highly anticipated 4-day event gathers cardiologists, radiologists, practice administrators, and other healthcare professionals from around the world who want to discuss emerging research, new technology, and advances in nuclear cardiology. This year, physicians may bring their Practice Administrators for FREE, so be sure to take advantage of the offer and mention it during the registration process. New Sessions Some of this year’s new sessions will include discussions about SPECT MPI… more >

Radiation exposure guidelines for nuclear imaging

Posted on: 08.18.16 by Digirad

Radiation exposure guidelines for nuclear imaging

Advancements in medical imaging technology have revolutionized health care, allowing doctors to more accurately diagnose disease and improve patient outcomes with earlier treatment. These advancements include a variety of techniques including x-rays, CT scans, nuclear medicine scans, and MRI scans, which create detailed images and demonstrate the functionality of organs and tissue inside the body through the use of radiology or radiopharmaceuticals. Should I be concerned? The word radiation may stir-up heightened concern, especially if you are having multiple tests performed. How much radiation is considered safe and over what time period? Do some tests bring greater exposure than others?… more >

Tips for making stress tests less stressful

Posted on: 08.11.16 by Digirad

Tips for making stress tests less stressful

Having a stress test go wrong or take twice as long as you expected is no fun for you, or your patients. Communication is an important tool and providing practical instructions prior to and during the test can make a world of difference. Aside from the standard list of instructions, here are some additional tips that will ensure your patient is prepared, comfortable and knows what to expect. One week before the stress test Patients coming directly from work may not be wearing clothes suitable for walking on a treadmill, especially one that will gradually increase in grade. Make a… more >

Is Attenuation Shift an acceptable substitute for Attenuation Correction?

Posted on: 08.04.16 by Digirad

Is Attenuation Shift an acceptable substitute for Attenuation Correction?

Identifying attenuation in SPECT images is a critical component of reading images with the highest clinical confidence possible. Today, some advanced nuclear cameras offer attenuation correction, which removes body artifacts and ultimately provides more uniform images. Without this feature, however, there is another alternative technique commonly used to identify attenuation. Attenuation shift is a method which attempts to move the questionable attenuation seen in the images by repositioning the patient (i.e. from supine to prone) in order to validate its representation. The camera itself is not correcting the attenuation. It is the movement of the attenuation in the additional images… more >

What is nuclear medicine?

Posted on: 07.28.16 by Digirad

What is nuclear medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that helps physicians diagnose and treat disease by showing how different organs are functioning inside the body. Through the use of radiopharmaceuticals and gamma cameras, physicians can gain valuable medical information and identify issues in the earliest stages of a disease. This insight allows patients to begin treatment earlier, so as to give them the most promising prognosis possible. How does it work? A radiopharmaceutical is simply a medicine that is combined with a small quantity of radioactive material, which is designed to highlight a particular part of the body. It involves the ingestion,… more >

Healthcare Quick Links – July 2016

Posted on: 07.21.16 by Digirad

Healthcare Quick Links - July 2016

Healthcare is ever changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: A Look Inside a Beating Heart Cell You might expect that scientists already know everything there is to know about how a healthy heart beats. But researchers have only recently had the tools to observe some of the dynamic inner workings of heart cells as they beat. Now an NIH-funded team has captured video to show that a component of a heart muscle cell called microtubules—long thought… more >

Two great events from ASNC this month

Posted on: 07.15.16 by Digirad

If you’re interested in the best practices and latest research available in the field of nuclear cardiology, ASNC is hosting two important webinars. Register and mark your calendars now- these are two events you won’t want to miss. Reporting a Myocardial Perfusion SPECT Scan July 20, 9:00 PM PT On July 20, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) invite you to attend the webinar, Reporting a Myocardial Perfusion SPECT Scan. This is the fourth in a series of complimentary webinars designed to provide cardiologists, radiologists, technologists and nuclear medicine physicians with… more >

Improving Sensitivity and Specificity with Attenuation Correction

Posted on: 07.07.16 by Digirad

Improving Sensitivity and Specificity with Attenuation Correction

Sensitivity and specificity are statistical measures of the performance of a diagnostic imaging test. Sensitivity, which is also referred to as the true positive rate, is a proportionate measure of patients who are accurately identified as having a specific condition. Conversely, specificity, also called the true negative rate, measures the proportion of patients who are accurately identified as not having the same condition. In other words, sensitivity quantifies the avoidance of false negatives as specificity does the same for false positives. How does attenuation correction help? Attenuation correction is a major contributor to both specificity and sensitivity. By reducing attenuation,… more >

Digirad adds QuantumCam to camera line-up

Posted on: 06.30.16 by Digirad

Digirad adds QuantumCam to camera line-up

Digirad has expanded its offerings as a nuclear medicine company by adding a variable angle camera to its growing array of high-quality imaging equipment. Through their relationship with Universal Medical Resources, Inc., the exclusive North America distributor for DDD Diagnostic, Digirad has added the CorCam™ and QuantumCam™ cameras to its product catalog. QuantumCam variable angle imaging system QuantumCam is a dual detector, variable angle, total body, SPECT and general purpose nuclear imaging system. It offers a large field-of-view and delivers all the flexibility you would expect from a variable angle camera. QuantumCam has the ability to perform total body scans,… more >

5 mistakes that practices make when choosing a mobile imaging provider

Posted on: 06.23.16 by Digirad

5 mistakes that practices make when choosing a mobile imaging provider

Choosing a mobile imaging provider could be one of the best decisions you’ll make for your practice. As an extension of your staff, your services partner will be a direct reflection of the quality of service you provide, your level of professionalism, and the quality of your medical services. With all that at stake, here are 5 mistakes you want to avoid when choosing a provider. 1. Choosing a provider with old and outdated equipment One key advantage of mobile imaging is access to the most current technology and protocols without the initial outlay of capital. Outdated equipment will affect… more >

Key differences between Holter Monitors and Telemetry

Posted on: 06.16.16 by Digirad

Key differences between Holter Monitors and Telemetry

Both Holter monitors and mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) provide ways to monitor a patient’s electrocardiogram for an extended period of time. Their main purpose is to determine the cause of a transient event by recording a patient’s heart rate and rhythm during normal activity. Although similar, Holter monitors and MCT devices have distinctive differences and meet different needs, which impacts the physician’s choice of monitoring method. We’ve outlined some of the differences below: Monitoring Period A Holter monitor typically records cardiac activity for an uninterrupted 24-48 hours, although some are prescribed for up to 14 days. It is ideal for… more >

Benefits of upright imaging

Posted on: 06.09.16 by Digirad

Benefits of upright imaging

Traditionally, patients undergoing SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) were imaged in the supine position. Although convenient from a procedural standpoint, patient experience and satisfaction may be significantly enhanced through upright imaging. As the technology, image quality, and clinical confidence have continued to improve, upright imaging is gaining more attention and consideration among physicians and technologists. Supine vs. Upright Imaging With supine imaging, patients must climb up to, and position themselves on, a roughly 15-24” imaging table. Face-up, they lie still with their arms raised above their heads, which can be difficult or uncomfortable for some, especially those patients with COPD,… more >

June Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 06.02.16 by Digirad

The Latest CMS Proposed Rule and its Impact on Hospitals’ Cardiovascular Business CMS recently released the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Proposed Inpatient Rule, which outlines the proposed requirements and payment changes that will go into effect October 1, 2016. Cardiovascular related services continue to play a significant role in terms of inpatient volumes. Additionally, these services represent an area of important focus as clinical quality and outcome requirements impacting payment penalties continue to grow. Read more… Will Medicare’s Physician Payment Overhaul Drive More Docs to Hospitals? The CMS began to answer some of the many questions about how physicians will… more >

Visit Digirad at the ​2016 SNMMI Annual Meeting

Posted on: 05.26.16 by Digirad

Visit Digirad at the ​2016 SNMMI Annual Meeting

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting is considered the premier educational, scientific, research, and networking event in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. The 2016 meeting will be held at the San Diego Convention Center in sunny San Diego, California from June 11-15. This highly anticipated event provides physicians, technologists, pharmacists, laboratory professionals, and scientists with an in-depth view of the latest technologies and research in the field. The world’s largest event focused exclusively on the educational and networking needs of the nuclear medicine and molecular imaging community, SNMMI’s Annual Meeting will host 3,600+ industry professionals… more >

What is solid state nuclear imaging?

Posted on: 05.19.16 by Digirad

What is solid state nuclear imaging?

The term “solid-state” has been used in medical imaging for years, but what does it really mean? As a leading producer of solid-state nuclear cameras, Digirad is here to explain what makes a camera solid-state. Pixilated crystals and speed With solid-state technology, the camera detectors are comprised of thousands of individual detector elements, not a solid sheet of crystal and large photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) found in Anger cameras. Each solid-state detector element (pixel) is isolated from one another. When a scintillation event occurs on a particular crystal, its exact location can be quickly and correctly identified, making the detector substantially… more >

Common Questions About Mobile Imaging

Posted on: 05.12.16 by Digirad

Many physicians are curious about mobile imaging but have questions about the service and how it actually works. As a leading provider of mobile nuclear imaging, the Digirad team has met with thousands of practices and cardiology providers. Here are the answers to the most common questions we receive. How many patients do I need for mobile imaging to make sense? Generally, one service day per month, with six patients per day, is considered reasonable. More patients allow for greater profitability. If there are fewer than four patients in a day, it may be difficult to justify the economics. Much… more >

Cardiac Monitoring Service: Do cardiac trained RNs make a difference?

Posted on: 05.05.16 by Digirad

Cardiac Monitoring Service: Do cardiac trained RNs make a difference?

While there are many variables to consider when partnering with a cardiac monitoring service, the reading expertise of the clinical staff is one of the most important. Cardiac monitoring services that employ registered nurses offer an undeniably higher level of readiness to their customers and their patients. Their expertise allows them to serve as an extension of the physician as they ask critical questions, provide comprehensive care, and a more holistic approach. In many cases, seasoned registered nurses, leveraging their experience, has been instrumental in identifying subtle but serious signs that may have easily been overlooked. Preventing unnecessary procedures For… more >

May Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 05.03.16 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Age-adjusted heart failure-related deaths increase from 2012 to 2014 After declining for more than a decade, the age-adjusted rate for heart failure-related deaths increased from 2012 to 2014, according to a recent data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics. The trend was consistent for men and women of all age groups studied: 45 to 64 years old; 65 to 74 years old; 75 to 84 years… more >

ASNC Appropriate Use Satellite Symposium

Posted on: 04.29.16 by Digirad

ASNC Appropriate Use Satellite Symposium – May 3

ASNC will be hosting a satellite symposium at the American College of Physicians annual meeting on May 3, 2016. This Satellite Symposium is a part of ASNC’s initiative to promote appropriate use criteria to the referring community and will increase learners’ competence in choosing the appropriate test in the appropriate patient. Participants will learn about current roles and applications of the appropriate use of nuclear cardiac imaging studies, application of appropriate use criteria, and guidelines when referring patients for nuclear cardiology studies. Event Details Appropriate Use of Nuclear Cardiology in Clinical Practice Tuesday, May 3, 2016 12:15 pm to 1:15… more >

What is a Stress-Only Protocol?

Posted on: 04.28.16 by Digirad

What is a Stress-Only Protocol?

Stress-only protocol is the directive by which a medical provider performs a cardiac stress test without the complementary resting scan. Traditionally, both a resting scan and a stress scan are performed on patients, which are then compared to more confidently support a diagnosis. Often, what could potentially be an abnormality in one image is disproved by the other, thereby reducing inaccurate conclusions. It does, however, subject the patient to two radiation doses, sometimes unnecessarily. Those with a low probability of heart disease, typically younger patients who have limited risk factors, are the ideal candidates to forgo the resting scan and… more >

Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions

Posted on: 04.26.16 by Digirad

Heart Rhythm Society Annual Scientific Sessions

The Heart Rhythm Society’s 37th Annual Scientific Sessions will be held May 4-7 at the Moscone Center in sunny San Francisco, California. Over the course of four days, more than 900 noted heart rhythm experts will speak at 250+ educational sessions designed to provide practical information and best practices for physicians, allied health professionals, and scientists. Attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a global community of professionals dedicated to improving the care of patients with heart rhythm disorders. The Exhibit Hall, which will feature more than 130 exhibitors, will showcase a broad range of educational opportunities, practice… more >

New developments at ASNC, an interview with Kathy Flood

Posted on: 04.21.16 by Digirad

New developments at ASNC, an interview with Kathy Flood

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) is the leader in quality, education, advocacy and standards in cardiovascular imaging. Digirad had the privilege of sitting down with Kathy Flood, Chief Executive Officer of ASNC, to discuss some of the new developments and initiatives they have underway. Image Guide Registry Officially launched in February 2016, the ImageGuide Registry is the first cardiac imaging registry in the country. The Medicare-approved registry is a collection of foundational elements that comprise a quality nuclear cardiology practice. Physicians will be able to submit data through the reporting software and then, in real time, will be… more >

Section 179 Tax Savings for Medical Equipment

Posted on: 04.14.16 by Digirad

Section 179 Tax Savings for Medical Equipment

In today’s competitive environment, it’s important to continually reinvest in your practice so you can provide patients with the highest quality of service. Through Section 179 of the IRS tax code, the U.S. government provides a way to encourage small business owners to take that financial leap. What is Section 179? Section 179 allows business owners to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and software that was purchased or financed during the tax year, rather than depreciating it over the asset’s useful life. This much-needed tax relief may be the motivation to buy equipment sooner than later and… more >

ASNC Nuclear Cardiology Today Show Preview

Posted on: 04.07.16 by Digirad

ASNC Nuclear Cardiology Today Show Preview

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) will hold its highly anticipated Nuclear Cardiology Today: A Comprehensive Review & Update program from April 29 – May 1, 2016. Cardiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, nuclear technologists, radiologists, and other nuclear cardiology professionals will gather in Chicago, Illinois to address the leading clinical and practical management issues facing cardiology imaging professionals today. Why Should I Attend? This year’s program will not only focus on the new and exciting applications in nuclear cardiology, but it will also offer a record number of practical presentations on SPECT, PET & CT technology, radiation dose, and challenging… more >

March Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 03.31.16 by Digirad

March Healthcare News Update

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: ICDs are associated with improved survival in older adults with heart failure Adults with heart failure who received implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) for primary prevention had a significant survival advantage compared with those who did not receive ICDs, according to a propensity score-matched analysis of Medicare patients. After three years of follow-up, the mortality rates were 40.2 percent among women who received an ICD and 48.7 percent among… more >

Medaxiom Spring Conference Preview

Posted on: 03.24.16 by Digirad

Medaxiom Spring Conference Preview

MedAxiom’s annual CV TransForum Conference will be held in sunny Ponte Vedra, Florida from April 7 – 9, 2016. Each year, this premier event gathers industry leaders together to exchange information, share experiences, network with their peers, and discuss industry trends, practical business applications, and best practices. Representing hundreds of programs from across the country, the cardiovascular community conference will introduce you to executives, consultants, and other professionals. Attendees will learn about some remarkable transformational programs and hear from the nation’s top leaders. They’ll share their advice on how to stay ahead of the curve in today’s ever-changing and complex… more >

How does a cardiac monitoring service work?

Posted on: 03.16.16 by Digirad

How does a cardiac monitoring service work?

Cardiac monitoring providers offer physicians a way to measure a patient’s heart rhythm over a defined period of time. It is considered standard practice in diagnosing cardiac arrhythmias and is also helpful in evaluating and managing medications and their effect on a patient’s condition. Monitoring services Many cardiology practices choose to partner with a monitoring service center that provides equipment, supplies, and reviews EKG data. These companies actively monitor patients that are enrolled in the service and report the results to the doctor for a diagnosis. Patients enrolled in the service are typically experiencing palpitations, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, syncope,… more >

2016 Nuclear Cardiology Benchmark Report Released

Posted on: 03.10.16 by Digirad

After a tremendous response to the Nuclear Cardiology Benchmark Report, Digirad has launched a new and updated version for 2016. The report gives users an unbiased evaluation of where their organization stands relative to national standards. The data used in the report was compiled by Medaxiom, as well as new provider information from 2015. Metrics covered within the report include the average number of new patient consults, study volume, number of cardiologists, camera age, and more. The 2016 version of the report includes the ability for practices to create a customized report or download a standard version. Custom reports provide… more >

Appropriate use criteria updates for 2016

Posted on: 03.03.16 by Digirad

Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) is an evidence-based set of standards that are designed to assist professionals with decisions regarding appropriate treatment for patients with specific conditions. Included with the passage of the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” (PAMA), was an appropriate use criteria program that includes advanced diagnostic imaging services (MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine). Under the law, effective January 1, 2017, physicians who order these tests must consult with AUC, and physicians who perform these tests must provide documentation that confirms the ordering physician’s AUC adherence in order to be paid for the service. AUC Timeline The… more >

How does mobile diagnostic imaging work?

Posted on: 03.01.16 by Digirad

How does mobile diagnostic imaging work?

Operating a nuclear diagnostic lab can be an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Many practices and cardiologists are turning to mobile diagnostic imaging as a way to improve profitability or add services to new locations. A mobile imaging company can provide everything you need to offer nuclear imaging at your location – with no capital outlay or direct expense to your practice. These services include accreditation, licensing, personnel, equipment, consumables, and isotopes. Understanding how mobile diagnostic imaging programs work is the best way to know if the service can benefit your practice. Why do practices use mobile imaging? The first step… more >

Preventative maintenance checklist for your nuclear camera

Posted on: 02.25.16 by Digirad

A preventative maintenance program is the most effective way to keep your nuclear camera operating at its best and address potential issues before they impact your practice. Most often, issues with SPECT and nuclear gamma cameras arise over time and a consistent, comprehensive program will ensure the optimal performance of your system. Additionally, a valid preventative maintenance program is required to satisfy accreditation and regulatory requirements, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly or, more importantly, sacrificed as a way to reduce costs. What should be covered with preventative maintenance? A preventative maintenance plan should include a detailed review, both visually… more >

What is a Stress Test?

Posted on: 02.18.16 by Digirad

Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, also called Nuclear Stress Testing, is used to assess coronary artery disease, or CAD. CAD is the narrowing of arteries to the heart by the buildup of fatty materials. This condition may prevent the heart muscle from receiving adequate blood supply during stress or periods of exercise. It frequently results in chest pain, which is called angina pectoris. A stress test provides detailed information about how efficiently your heart performs during physical stress. The test consists of injecting a small dose of radioactive material into the patient’s bloodstream, via an IV, and then imaging the heart commonly… more >

Understanding Attenuation Correction

Posted on: 02.11.16 by Digirad

Attenuation correction is a mechanism that removes soft tissue artifacts from SPECT images. Attenuation artifacts vary among patients, but the most common corrections are to artifacts associated with breast attenuation in women and diaphragmatic attenuation in men. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the impact of attenuation in order to provide images that are more uniform and allow for higher reading confidence. During SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, radiation is absorbed by the heart and therefore, the heart becomes the source of gamma rays detected by the camera. The detectors read the rays to produce an image. The size of the… more >

February Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 02.04.16 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: The Role of Vascular Medicine in Cardiology Speaking from the American Heart Association (AHA) 2015 Scientific Sessions, Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD, talks about where vascular medicine fits into cardiovascular medicine. In the opening address at the Sessions in Orlando, Dr. Mark Creager, cardiologist, vascular medicine specialist and President of the American Heart Association, called for much more attention to vascular medicine within the realm of cardiology, so this… more >

What is an event monitor?

Posted on: 01.21.16 by Digirad

An event monitor, also called an ambulatory electrocardiographic monitor, is a battery powered, portable medical device that monitors cardiac activity as a patient goes about an ordinary day. The main purpose of an event monitor is to determine the cause of a transient event by recording a patient’s heart rate and rhythm during a period of time. In contrast to an EKG, which captures cardiac activity at one point in time, or a Holter monitor, which continuously records over a period of 24-48 hours, an event monitor records intermittently for a period of a few weeks, typically up to 30… more >

Who is Reading Your Cardiac Data?

Posted on: 01.14.16 by Digirad

There are many variables to consider when selecting a cardiac monitoring service. Each provider has their own mix of technology, process, and service. While the type of technology used to capture patient data is critical, it’s even more important to know who is reading the data. Readers can range from an automated computer system to a seasoned RN with years of critical care experience. Each category of readers provides a graduated level of service- from the bare minimum to the most advanced. It’s important to understand what level of reading technician each provider employs and, in turn, how that will… more >

January Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 01.07.16 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: SNMMI 2016 call for abstracts The Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is now accepting abstracts for the SNMMI 2016 Annual Meeting, June 11-15, 2016 in San Diego, California. The Scientific Program Committee welcomes physicians, scientists, technologists, lab professionals, and educators/course directors with the opportunity to present and publish innovative scientific investigations to medical imaging professionals from around the world. Continue Reading… ACC, SCAI and HRS… more >

Digirad Corporation Announces Closing of DMS Health Technologies Acquisition and Associated Financing From Wells Fargo

Posted on: 01.05.16 by Digirad

Digirad Corporation Announces Closing of DMS Health Technologies Acquisition

SUWANEE, GA and FARGO, ND, Jan. 05, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Digirad Corporation (NASDAQ:DRAD) (“Digirad” or the “Company”), the leader in providing healthcare solutions on an as needed, when needed, and where needed basis, announced today that it has closed the acquisition of DMS Health Technologies, Inc. (“DMS Health”) as of January 1, 2016. As previously announced the Company expects the new combined Digirad entity to generate pro forma annual revenue and adjusted EBITDA of over $125 million and $17 million, respectively. The Company also announced closing on a senior secured credit facility from Wells Fargo Bank, with a total… more >

December Healthcare News Update

Posted on: 12.31.15 by Digirad

Healthcare is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your services. Here are some important developments: Remote Diagnostic Monitoring Progress: Medicare Payment Increase, GAO Study, Legislation Pending The 2016 Medicare physician payment fee schedule includes a significant increase in payment for a critical diagnostic test used to diagnose cardiac arrhythmias and other heart rhythm disorders – mobile outpatient cardiac telemetry. The payment increase reflects Medicare’s recognition of some of the unique costs associated with providing remote diagnostic monitoring services including wireless transmission of clinical… more >

HOPPS and MPFS Charts Released

Posted on: 12.17.15 by Digirad

In an effort to control the rapidly growing Medicare expenditures for outpatient services and the large co-payments being made by Medicare beneficiaries, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS). This payment system provides a fixed, prospectively determined, bundled payment for hospital-provided outpatient products and services, excluding services of physicians and other health care providers. For the same reason, CMS developed the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) to reimburse physician services. The MPFS is funded by Part B and is composed of costs associated with physician work, practice expense and professional liability… more >

Four Critical Components of an Effective Risk Assessment

Posted on: 12.10.15 by Digirad

Security risk assessments play a vital role in making sure your patient data is safe and secure. Many organizations believe that a simple vulnerability scan will satisfy the requirement for a risk assessment, but the fact is that it’s only one element. A complete and compliant risk assessment must include four distinct components. These include: 1. Technical Safeguards Technical safeguards are those that protect the aspects of how you’re storing your personal health information and are generally tested by running a vulnerability scan. The vulnerability scan is an automated test that identifies network security weaknesses. 2. Organizational safeguards Organizational safeguards… more >

What MACRA means for your practice

Posted on: 12.03.15 by Digirad

What MACRA means for your practice

On April 16, 2015, President Obama signed the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA) into law. With that passage, the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) program has been eliminated, a victory to be celebrated by the medical community. Aside from that win, the act also includes other important legislation that will substantially affect the healthcare industry. Assuming risk One of the most significant changes is the proposed amount of risk physicians and hospitals will need to take in dealing with traditional Medicare. In 2016, 30% of healthcare will be required to be delivered by alternative payment models,… more >

Safeguarding Health Information Conference Recap

Posted on: 11.19.15 by Digirad

On September 2-3, 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) co-hosted the 8th annual conference, Safeguarding Health Information: Building Assurance through HIPAA Security, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The conference explored the current health information technology security landscape and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security Rule. It highlighted the present state of health information security, and practical strategies, tips and techniques for implementing the HIPAA Security Rule. Live Compliance president, Jim Johnson, was among the conference attendees and stressed the… more >

Dilon Diagnostics and Digirad at RSNA

Posted on: 11.12.15 by Digirad

Dilon Diagnostics is a leader in small field-of-view cameras for early detection of breast cancer. From a diagnostic perspective, 50% of women who have a mammogram in the U.S. are found to have dense breast tissue and therefore, have an inconclusive mammogram. Many times, in order to rule out breast cancer, a secondary diagnostic procedure is required. These procedures can include an ultrasound, MRI, or in the case of Dilon Diagnostics, molecular breast imaging. With their Molecular Imaging System considered leading edge technology, and a strong weapon in the armament against breast cancer, the company quickly grew internationally as well… more >

Perma-Fix advances Tc-99m production technology

Posted on: 11.05.15 by Digirad

Perma-Fix advances Tc-99m production technology

The following article originally appeared on Click here to read the full article. Concern over the future supply of medical isotopes in the wake of recent worldwide shortages and aging nuclear reactors has spawned a kind of cottage industry among entrepreneurs. One such firm is Perma-Fix Medical, which is developing a method for producing technetium-99m (Tc-99m) that does not require uranium. The company’s neutron-capture production process is designed to activate natural molybdenum (Mo) to produce Mo-99, which then decays into Tc-99m. By removing uranium from the production chain, the new process can be performed locally using standard research and… more >

Is it time to move to an EHR system?

Posted on: 10.29.15 by Digirad

Transitioning from paper-based health records to an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system is a move that will affect almost every aspect of your practice. There are many benefits to an EHR system, but these benefits come with a cost. You’ll need to invest in the software and train your staff in new processes. So why are practices making the move to EHRs? We’ve put together six key benefits of making the switch. Take a look… Fewer errors Digital data allows for fewer errors than traditional paper records. Among other things, legibility is no longer an issue and physicians can be… more >

MedAxiom Fall 2015 CV Transformation Conference – Event Preview

Posted on: 10.22.15 by Digirad

MedAxiom Fall 2015 CV Transformation Conference

MedAxiom’s highly anticipated Fall ’15 CV Transformation Conference will be held in Dallas, Texas from October 23-25, 2015. Attendees will gather with industry leaders to to discuss industry trends, practical business applications and best practices. Featuring presentations from the nation’s top thought leaders, including keynote speaker Dr. Michael S. Cuffe, President and CEO of the Physician Services Group for Tennessee-based Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), organizations will learn how to stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly changing and complex health care environment. From timely general session topics to detailed breakout presentations and more intimate POD group discussions, attendees… more >

Imaging Industry News – October

Posted on: 10.15.15 by Digirad

The imaging industry is ever-changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on advancements and issues that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Here are some important developments: Call to Action: Nuclear Medicine Reimbursement The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed changes to the nuclear medicine Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs) in its 2016 proposed rule for the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS). Concerned that the proposed rule will exacerbate an already existing nuclear medicine reimbursement problem, The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) created an APC Remodeling… more >

Challenges and obstacles of the PQRS

Posted on: 10.08.15 by Digirad

The Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) is a quality monitoring reporting program that was launched by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve care through accountability and disclosure. Under PQRS, healthcare providers report quality measures about the services they have provided to Medicare beneficiaries. These quality measures help assess care in terms of patient outcomes, perceptions, and organizational structure. They ultimately contribute to achieving a higher standard of care by focusing on effective, safe, patient-centered, equitable and timely delivery of treatment. Challenges and Obstacles Non-compliance with the PQRS program will result in fees and penalties. Eligible professionals… more >

Five ways a Cloud PACS can help your practice

Posted on: 10.01.15 by Digirad

With advancements in technology, a traditional PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) is no longer your only choice when it comes to image storage and retrieval. A cloud-based PACS removes many of the limitations of a traditional PACS. Cloud based PACS offer benefits and conveniences that increase efficiency, accessibility, and ultimately, the level of patient care. Some of these advancements include: Storage Storage in a cloud-based PACS is typically off-site and virtual. There’s no need for onsite servers, hard drives or the physical installation of software. Patient data is automatically streamed directly into the cloud as it’s created. The storage… more >

ICD-10 Set to Launch on October 1, 2015

Posted on: 09.24.15 by Digirad

After multiple delays, it’s finally official. The 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) will be implemented on October 1, 2015. More than 68,000 codes will be available for the billing and coding of medical services and diagnoses. While the update is a positive step in modernizing our health care infrastructure, it also brings a level of concern over the anticipated learning curve and the frustration that comes with it. Given the years of delays in the implementation schedule, the hope is that practices have used that time to prepare and plan for the costs they will incur… more >

ASNC 2015 is underway!

Posted on: 09.17.15 by Digirad

The 20th Annual Scientific Session of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) is underway through September 20th at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Digirad is exhibiting and our team is ready for three days of learning and connecting with attendees. Stop by Booth 401 to say hello and learn about our new cost efficient diagnostic services program – Digirad Select. We’ll also be exhibiting the Cardius® X-ACT and demonstrating our ground breaking technology that helps physicians meet all of the current ASNC guidelines including low dose imaging. For more information, visit the ASNC website. See… more >

Brain Death Studies with Portable Imaging

Posted on: 09.10.15 by Digirad

Performing a Tc-99m Brain Death, or Intracerebral Perfusion, scan presents a unique set of challenges. Moving an unstable patient to the imaging department can be difficult for hospital staff and potentially hazardous to the patient. It is also an extremely sensitive and traumatic experience for the patient’s family. Brain Death Study Considerations Patients requiring a brain death study typically are on life support which makes the study logistically complex. Traditionally, brain death studies are performed in the imaging department with the use of a stationary camera. The patient must be carefully stabilized then transported with all the equipment, including power,… more >

Six strategies for reducing patient no-shows

Posted on: 09.03.15 by Digirad

Patient no-shows aren’t just frustrating, they cost you time and money. Every practice would love to reduce no-shows, but the big question is, how? We’ve put together six practical tips you can use to discourage and reduce your number of no-shows. 1. Ownership It’s important for patients to feel some responsibility in keeping their appointment. Having them sign a written no-show policy is a way to create a greater sense of ownership. You can also consider charging for no-shows and same-day cancelations, unless it’s an emergency, of course. Requiring a signed notice is a smart way to ensure your patients… more >

Atrial Fibrillation Detection and Cryptogenic Strokes

Posted on: 08.27.15 by Digirad

One-third of stroke and transient ischemic attacks are categorized as having no known cause, or cryptogenic. Recent studies have suggested that atrial fibrillation (AF) could be a possible cause for these cryptogenic strokes. If atrial fibrillation is known or suspected, early detection and monitoring is key. In a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, patients without known atrial fibrillation, who had had a cryptogenic ischemic stroke, were monitored by mobile telemetry for 30 days. The study concluded that 12-15% of strokes were possibly caused by atrial fibrillation and raised the importance of early detection. In addition to… more >

ASNC 2015 Annual Meeting

Posted on: 08.20.15 by Digirad

This year, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology will host its 20th Annual Scientific Session from September 17th through the 20th, 2015 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. “This is the premier meeting for nuclear cardiology, one that you won’t want to miss,” said Kathy Flood, CEO of ASNC. Physicians, scientists, technologists, nurses and colleagues from around the world will join us for this highly anticipated, educational event. This year’s meeting will address the ways in which nuclear cardiology is making its mark in the industry. It will highlight many of the exciting, cutting-edge, scientific developments,… more >

Imaging Industry News – August

Posted on: 08.06.15 by Digirad

Heart Attack Symptoms and Heart Disease Prevalence in Women Heart disease is often recognized as man’s condition, but, according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. New York cardiology practice, Long Island Heart Associates with its strong emphasis on heart disease prevention, strives to bring awareness to women regarding heart disease. Continue reading… Digirad Announces That It Has Completed Its Strategic Partnership and Investment Into Perma-Fix Medical Digirad Corporation recently announced that it has completed its previously announced strategic partnership and investment into Perma-Fix Medical S.A.,… more >

Understanding Your Cost Per Study

Posted on: 07.30.15 by Digirad

What is your cost per study? It’s a simple question, and the answer may be higher than you think. There are multiple factors to consider when calculating an accurate cost. So how do you know? Let’s take a look: Your cost per study is driven by six key factors: STAFF – What is your annual cost to employ your team of nuclear medicine technologists, cardiac stress technicians, billing and other support staff? EQUIPMENT – Consider your initial investment as well as the annual depreciation of your myocardial perfusion imaging system. MAINTENANCE – If you have a service agreement, include the… more >

Does it make sense to outsource nuclear cardiology?

Posted on: 07.23.15 by Digirad

Whether you’re operating an existing practice or preparing to open a new one, outsourcing your nuclear cardiology is an option worthy of consideration. Not only can it afford conveniences and benefits to your patients, outsourcing could be a smart decision for the overall health of your practice as well. Four advantages of outsourcing: COST: Through an outsourcing service, you are given access to an advanced, solid-state nuclear imaging system. These systems are designed specifically to meet the standards of nuclear cardiology. This alleviates the burden of maintaining and continually upgrading your aging equipment. SERVICES: Outsourced services are designed to be… more >

Accreditation Timelines

Posted on: 07.16.15 by Digirad

No one looks forward to an audit, but it’s required triennially to ensure continued IAC or ACR accreditation for your practice. Because maintaining your accreditation is of such great importance, the reaccreditation audit can be extremely stressful. To help manage the pressure and avoid a lapse in your accreditation status, you’ll need to have a plan, start early, and stay organized. Here is a general timeline during your three-year accreditation term to help keep you on schedule. 1st year of Accreditation: □ Physicians and Technologists should be earning CMEs and CEUs. □ Perform annual update of policy and procedures. □… more >

How do I implement a low-dose protocol?

Posted on: 07.09.15 by Digirad

Any time a physician orders a nuclear imaging scan, there is always concern about radiation exposure. Thankfully, today’s technology is making it possible to reduce that exposure in appropriate cases. If you are considering the implementation of a low-dose protocol, you’ll need to evaluate three major issues within your practice: proper patient segmentation, commitment, and technology. Patient Segmentation Proper patient segmentation is a large part of implementing a low-dose protocol because each patient is a unique combination of age, weight, shape and medical history. Did you know that ASNC estimates half of the patient population falls under the appropriate criteria… more >

Industry News

Posted on: 07.02.15 by Digirad

The imaging industry is continually evolving and it’s important to stay informed about the changes that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Here are some important developments and updates: Managing Patient Radiation Burden in Cardiac Imaging Nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) with positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have been the gold standard for non-invasive detection of coronary ischemia and infarcts. However, the high radiation doses patients receive are making some providers think twice before referring their patients for nuclear MPI. Read more… CMS Finalizes Medicare ACO Rule The Centers… more >

How to get high quality nuclear images when imaging obese patients

Posted on: 06.25.15 by Digirad

Imaging obese patients often presents a unique challenge for medical providers. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to accommodate larger patients based on their size and the limitations of certain equipment. Aside from the maximum weight threshold, a major obstacle of many nuclear gamma cameras is their fixed detector design, which hinders the acquisition of quality images in this patient population. Because of the fixed geometry of these systems, there is a limit to where the detectors can be positioned for viewing, which can easily move the heart out of the “sweet spot” field of view. Effectively imaging obese… more >

HHS Sets Goals for Medicare’s Alternative Payment Models

Posted on: 06.18.15 by Digirad

After meeting with key healthcare industry officials in Washington earlier in the year, Health and Human Services (HHS) has identified specific goals and established concrete deadlines for overhauling the Medicare payment system, which has traditionally operated under the standard fee-for-service model. The Obama administration is committed to securing 30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits from alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), by the end of 2016 and 50% of those payments by the end of 2018. Since the existing ACO program began in 2011, HHS credits it with an estimated $417 million reduction in Medicare spending…. more >

When do I use Holter, Event Monitoring, or Mobile Telemetry?

Posted on: 06.11.15 by Digirad

When a patient reports symptoms of an irregular cardiac event, physicians can choose to monitor cardiac activity using a Holter monitor, cardiac event monitor, or mobile cardiac telemetry. Holter monitors are often a physician’s first line of defense when a patient reports symptoms of a cardiac irregularity. They are a non-invasive, wearable device that records the patient’s heart rhythm for a prescribed period of time during which the patient assumes normal, daily activities. Although it may be a low-cost, low-risk option, many physicians report non-diagnostic rates as high as 85%. Most often, this is because symptoms may not reappear in… more >

2015 Nuclear Cardiology Industry Benchmark Report Launches

Posted on: 06.04.15 by Digirad

Digirad, in partnership with Medaxiom, has released the 2015 Nuclear Cardiology Industry Benchmark Report. The report tool offers users an unbiased evaluation of where their organization stands relative to nationally gathered data from other practices across the United States. Using data compiled and supplied by Medaxiom, one of the most well respected organizations of cardiologists in the nation, the benchmark reporting tool compares factors including new patient consults, study volume, number of cardiologists and the average camera age. In addition to providing a series of benchmarks, the report also delivers potential risk factors and quality and cost savings opportunities that… more >

What to do if you fail an IAC audit

Posted on: 05.28.15 by Digirad

So you failed an audit… During each period of accreditation, your practice will be subjected to an audit by the IAC. You should expect a notice of audit, via email, at any time during this period. Be sure to have a valid email address on file, one that is monitored regularly. Once the audit is complete, you’ll receive approval or a time-sensitive notice regarding your non-compliance. It’s important to avoid your accreditation from lapsing, so throughout the accreditation period, it’s critical that you stay organized and on track. Proactive planning and implementing appropriate processes and controls will assuredly minimize your… more >

Radiology Benefit Managers Merge

Posted on: 05.21.15 by Digirad

CareCore National and MedSolutions, two leading providers of Specialty Benefits Management (SBM) services who contract with private insurance companies to manage their healthcare costs, have merged. At the current time, the new company is continuing to operate under both the CareCore and MedSolutions brands. Utilizing evidence-based protocols, the consolidated Radiology Benefit Manager’s (RBM) objective is to ensure “the right evidence-based care is delivered at the right time to the right patient at the right site of care.” Managing the skyrocketing healthcare costs is a growing issue that needs attention, but the mixed results in controlling medical costs have attracted controversy and concerns about whether RBMs are helping or… more >

2015 SNMMI Annual Meeting

Posted on: 05.14.15 by Digirad

Visit us at Booth 635! This year’s Society of Nuclear and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting, the highly anticipated, scientific, research, and networking event in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 6–10, 2015. The diverse city of Baltimore, known for its beautiful inner harbor and distinct neighborhoods, is also home to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center. It’s the perfect destination for more than 4,000 members of our profession. Explore the latest technologies, witness ground-breaking new products and services, and connect with the companies that make it… more >

Important Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) changes on the horizon

Posted on: 05.07.15 by Digirad

Effective January 2017, Medicare will require providers to consult physician-developed Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) and formally document their consultation prior to ordering a diagnostic imaging test. Although the burden of proof falls on the referring physician, it will also impact payment to the imaging physician if they are not one in the same. The changes are designed to: Encourage evidence-based medicine Ensure indicated tests are performed on the appropriate patients Avoid duplication and reduce costs Use healthcare resources more efficiently Create greater patient outcomes The specific AUC guidelines are due to be released by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service… more >

Where/how to get Nuclear Medicine CME’s

Posted on: 04.30.15 by Digirad

One of the requirements for Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) or American College of Radiation (ACR) accreditation renewal is the successful completion of 15 continuing medical education (CME) credits per physician and the 15 continuing education units (CEU) per technologist. Physicians and technologists generally have an abundance of credits; however, the credits must be specifically relevant to nuclear medicine. This is an incredibly important detail that many practices overlook, and many times is the reason a practice is cited for non-compliance. Starting the continuing education process early-on is crucial so that physicians and technologists will have enough time to complete the… more >

Sustainable growth rate repealed

Posted on: 04.23.15 by Digirad

On April 16, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The new law repeals Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician pay and will ultimately move the Medicare program from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance. Although the specific components must still be defined, the law will have a major impact on the medical community. Doctors who were facing the 21% SGR-triggered rate reduction will now receive a stable annual payment increase of 0.5% in each of the years 2015 through 2019, beginning July 1, 2015. Additional financial incentives will be available for those… more >

Non-diagnostic Holter, Symptomatic Patient…Now What?

Posted on: 04.16.15 by Digirad

When a patient expresses symptoms or exhibits signs of a cardiac irregularity, many cardiologists look to the Holter monitor as their first line of defense. While Holter monitors can be effective, it’s not uncommon for them to be returned as non-diagnostic. In fact, many physicians report non-diagnostic rates as high as 85%. Most often, this is because symptoms may not reappear in the 24 to 48 hours during which the Holter is monitoring the patient’s heart rhythm. Non-diagnostic Holters are also known as a benign Holter or a negative Holter. Non-diagnostic results… now what? Cardiac irregularities should not be dismissed… more >

Mayo Clinic Endorses Molecular Breast Imaging

Posted on: 04.09.15 by Digirad

A Better Way of Detecting Breast Cancer Recently, Mayo Clinic, one of the gold standards in the medical world, announced that Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) will be their preferred supplemental imaging technology, in addition to mammography, for women with dense breast tissue. In a recent interview, Dr. Michael O’Connor of Mayo Clinic, inventor of the MBI technology, discussed how that major decision came about and how impactful this technology will have in the imaging world. “This is the beginning of a new era for molecular imaging of the breast, and I think it’s a very exciting time for us,” he… more >

April Imaging Industry News

Posted on: 04.02.15 by Digirad

The imaging industry is continually evolving and it’s important to stay informed about the changes that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Medicare to Shift 50 Percent of Payments to Alternative Models by 2019 Half of Medicare’s provider payments will come through alternative payment models within four years, according to goals the Obama administration announced Jan. 26. The initiative would expand the roughly 20 percent of Medicare payments that were made through alternative payment models and population-based payments in 2014 to 30 percent by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end… more >

ICD-10 Update: What You Need to Know

Posted on: 03.26.15 by Digirad

Updating to ICD-10 will give medical practices, insurance companies, and health organizations more than 16,000 codes to use when billing and coding their services. Providing medical practices with a more detailed medical snapshot will improve patient health and ease procedures at the medical and administrative levels. For a more in-depth look, review our previous post outlining the details of ICD-10 here. What’s Happening Now? Despite multiple efforts to delay the start date, implementation of ICD-10 is slated to begin on October 1, 2015. This update will bring a big change, and it requires work up-front to ensure that implementation transitions… more >

Finding the right scan time, every time, with TruACQ Count Based Imaging™

Posted on: 03.19.15 by Digirad

Missing the mark on scan times can result in a lower quality image or an unnecessarily increased dose to the patient. Each patient has a different height, weight, and size, which all impact the scan time and image quality. Technologists utilize their experience to estimate the ideal scanning time, but it is still a bit of a guessing game. What if there was a way to precisely calculate the scan time based on the injected dose? Digirad’s TruACQ Count Based Imaging™ software provides that solution. A Personalized Scan TruACQ Count Based Imaging™ is the first and only count-based SPECT imaging… more >

8 Questions To Ask Before You Sign A Service Contract

Posted on: 03.12.15 by Digirad

8 Questions To Ask Before You Sign A Service Contract

When you invest in your medical practice by purchasing your own imaging equipment, it is imperative your asset is well maintained and working properly. Purchasing a service contract for your camera protects your investment, and it ensures that your camera produces quality images to reliably assist in patient diagnosis. Proper maintenance of your camera is important to the vitality and efficacy of your practice, and required for accreditation and reimbursement. Service contracts provide you with the peace of mind knowing your equipment will be operating effectively, and in case of emergency malfunctions, a knowledgeable, well trained team will be ready… more >

Primary types of ultrasound tests provided by cardiac, vascular or internal medicine practices

Posted on: 03.05.15 by Digirad

Primary types of ultrasound tests provided by cardiac, vascular or internal medicine practices

Cardiologists, vascular surgeons, and internal medicine providers use noninvasive ultrasound technology in a number of different ways. We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of ultrasound that can be provided in the doctor’s office. Take a look… Cardiac Ultrasounds Cardiac ultrasounds are used to diagnose and analyze the blood flow and function of the heart: Echocardiograms – (referred to as “echos”) are sonograms of the heart. Echos use two-dimensional and three-dimensional ultrasound to create an image of the heart, and Doppler is used to assess blood flow through the heart and vessels. Stress Echos— use ultrasound to show… more >

Medicare Physician Fee Schedule 2015 Update

Posted on: 02.26.15 by Digirad

Medicare Physician Fee Schedule 2015 Update

With April fast approaching, it’s important to remember that April 1st marks the end of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. On this date, Congress will respond to the expiration in one of three ways. Their options are to pass another year-long delay, propose a permanent solution, or let the provision expire altogether. The permanent solution would be to eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) altogether. Eliminating the SGR would mean that healthcare cost neutrality would be achieved, benefitting providers and patients. However, the prediction of lobbyists who are concerned with this issue forecasts another temporary solution. In… more >

When is mobile imaging better than ownership?

Posted on: 02.19.15 by Digirad

When is mobile imaging better than ownership?

Imaging technology, guidelines, and payment models are changing for the cardiology field. Healthcare is moving from ‘fee for service’ to value. The choice between mobile imaging and ownership requires a detailed evaluation of the clinical and economic impacts of the two options. Many don’t realize that the cost of a SPECT Nuclear Cardiology camera (i.e., the monthly payment along with repair and maintenance) is NOT the most expensive aspect of owning and operating your own Nuclear Cardiology lab. It is the rest of the costs (see prior posting) that drive the total cost of ownership. Without substantial, consistent study volume… more >

Anthem cyberattack and HIPAA security – what you need to know

Posted on: 02.12.15 by Digirad

Anthem cyberattack and HIPAA security - what you need to know

Recently, there has been a lot of focus on the safety of medical data due to the Anthem cyber attack. On February 5, it was discovered that Anthem, the second largest insurer in the United States, had been hacked. This was an aggressive attack that came from outside the organization. The massive data breach may have compromised the personal data of as many as 80 million people, placing them at risk of identity fraud. If a large corporation like Anthem can’t protect its data, then many smaller practices are concerned that there is no way they’ll be able to protect… more >

February Imaging Industry News

Posted on: 02.05.15 by Digirad

The imaging industry is continually evolving, and it’s important to stay informed about the changes that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. ImageGuide Registry Launched by ASNC The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) announced the launch of ImageGuide, the nation’s first cardiovascular nuclear imaging data registry. The registry is designed to ensure and optimize the quality of nuclear cardiac studies conducted in nuclear cardiology laboratories by interpreting physicians. Improving laboratory efficiency, optimizing patient radiation exposure, downstream cost minimization, and the improving patient care are among the goals of the registry. Continue Reading… ASNC… more >

Five Essential Ancillary Services for Cardiology Offices

Posted on: 01.29.15 by Digirad

There are dozens upon dozens of services that a cardiology office may offer. It can be overwhelming for a newly independent cardiologist to decide what technology and services to invest in first. Digirad works with thousands of cardiologists and we’ve compiled the five most essential services for any cardiologist thinking of opening his or her own office. Basic EKG Perhaps most essential for any cardiology office is an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine in order to test for problems with the electrical activity of a patient’s heart. EKGs are useful for evaluating the possible causes behind unexplained chest pains as well as… more >

Understanding the Cost Factors of Owning an In-office Nuclear Cardiology Lab

Posted on: 01.22.15 by Digirad

Opening your own Nuclear Cardiology lab provides you with dedicated access to SPECT Myocardial Perfusion and function studies. However, the cost to set up and maintain a Nuclear Cardiology lab can be overwhelming. Before deciding if a nuclear cardiology lab is right for your practice, it’s important to be aware of the all the associated cost factors. Equipment You will need to purchase a SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging system. This is typically a dual-head or triple-head nuclear gamma camera. Also, if you don’t already have one, you will need a treadmill system. Additionally, there is the cost associated with equipment… more >

Strategic Partnership with Perma-Fix Medical

Posted on: 01.20.15 by Digirad

Perma-Fix Announces That Its Subsidiary, Perma-Fix Medical, Has Entered Into a Letter of Intent as to a Planned Strategic Partnership and Investment From Digirad Corporation ATLANTA, GA — (Marketwired) — 01/15/15 — Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: PESI) today announced that its Polish subsidiary, Perma-Fix Medical, S.A. (WAR: PFM), has entered into a preliminary Letter of Intent to form a strategic partnership and secure investment from Digirad Corporation (NASDAQ: DRAD), one of the largest national providers of in-office nuclear cardiology imaging services. Digirad uses Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) in its nuclear imaging services business and provides imaging expertise to the medical community. Under the Agreement, Digirad Corporation will invest $1 million into Perma-Fix Medical, which is a publicly traded… more >

January News Digest

Posted on: 01.15.15 by Digirad

The imaging industry is continually evolving and it’s important to stay informed about the changes that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. ASNC Introduces New Self-Assessment Program The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology is releasing a new Nuclear Cardiology Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (NCKSAP) designed for practitioners performing nuclear imaging studies and preparing for certification or recertification in nuclear cardiology. The program will be comprised of eight modules. The first five modules are available for purchase online now. Each module will have a total of 30 multiple-choice questions, rationales, and references designed to help users… more >

Imaging with Ergo™ in the ICU

Posted on: 01.07.15 by Digirad

The Ergo™ Imaging System is a multi-purpose solid-state large field of view nuclear gamma camera that is ideal for use in the ICU. It is completely portable, which allows for point-of-care diagnostic imaging. In the past, portable cameras had a reputation of being bulky and loud with a limited field of view. The Ergo revolutionizes the portable camera using solid-state flat panel detector technology. Since the Ergo does not use Photo-Multiplier tubes in its detector, it is quiet, compact, light, and easy to maneuver. Built for general purpose planar, dynamic, and gated imaging, the Ergo is ideal for Brain Flow,… more >

Top 6 Hurdles of IAC Accreditation/Reaccreditation

Posted on: 12.23.14 by Digirad

Maintaining your practice’s accreditation with the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) can be a daunting task to take on alone. The IAC imparts certain requirements for practices to meet in order to maintain their accreditation. These requirements are in place to ensure that practices are continuing quality care, and held to industry standards. Knowing what challenges to expect can be a helpful tool when preparing for a successful accreditation process. CME and CEU Credits To maintain accreditation, physicians are required to complete a minimum number of relevant, continuing medical education (CME) credits, while technologists are required to complete a minimum number… more >

Advances in Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry

Posted on: 12.18.14 by Digirad

Mobile cardiac outpatient telemetry (MCOT or MCT) is an innovative technology that cardiologists use to monitor patients’ every day cardiac behavior. The technology that powers MCT is continually evolving and below are a few of the latest innovations we are seeing emerge. One-Piece Devices Traditional MCT systems have been two-piece systems that contain a receiver and a transmitter. The two-piece equipment contains wires that are attached to leads, which close the circuit from the heart to the receiver to the transmitter. Recent developments in MCT technology have created a one-piece device that can store data for up to thirty days…. more >

Will It Fit? Space Requirements for Digirad Cameras

Posted on: 12.11.14 by Digirad

Solid-state cameras from Digirad are smaller, lighter, and more compact than what you typically find with other nuclear gamma cameras. Our Ergo, Cardius® 2XPO, Cardius® 3XPO and Cardius® X-ACT imaging systems are conveniently sized, and can fit into standard-sized exam rooms and door frames without special modifications. So the short answer is “yes, it will fit.” Minimum room sizes for Digirad cameras: Cardius 2XPO Minimum room size: 8’ x 7’ Cardius 3XPO Minimum room size: 8’ x 7’ X-ACT Minimum room size: 8’ x 9’ Ergo Minimum room size: 8’ x 8’ Space considerations for private practice clinics Both the… more >

Anger v. Solid-State Imaging – It’s Time To Upgrade

Posted on: 11.25.14 by Digirad

Nuclear medical imaging technology has evolved drastically over the years; however there are surprisingly still a large number of antiquated Anger-based imaging systems in use today. These Anger technology gamma cameras use vacuum tube photomultipliers (PMTs) and hygroscopic sodium iodide (NaI) crystals, technologies that are now more than 50 years old. Digirad developed a solution to the limitations of the Anger camera with the creation and design of solid-state nuclear imaging systems. Solid-state cameras offer a number of benefits over Anger-based systems including, but not limited to, their ultra compact and lightweight design, higher quality images, enhanced patient experience, and… more >

November News Digest

Posted on: 11.20.14 by Digirad

The imaging industry is continually evolving and it’s important to stay informed about the changes that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Moly 99 reactor could lead to U.S. supply of isotope to track disease An Albuquerque startup company has licensed a Sandia National Laboratories technology that offers a way to make molybdenum-99, a key radioactive isotope needed for diagnostic imaging in nuclear medicine, in the United States. Known as moly 99, it is made in aging nuclear reactors outside the country, and concerns about future shortages have been in the news for years…. more >

2014 RSNA 100th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting

Posted on: 11.13.14 by Digirad

Come see our Ergo™ Imaging System at Booth 6733 The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is hosting its 100th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois from November 30 to December 5 this year at McCormick Place. Digirad will be exhibiting the Ergo in collaboration with Dilon Technologies as part of the almost 700 other exhibitors who will be showcasing their technologies. The RSNA will be hosting the Canadian Association of Radiologists and the Korean Society of Radiology at this year’s event. The annual meeting welcomes experienced professionals who are well-versed in a variety of specialties to share… more >

10 Myths about Mobile Imaging – Part 2

Posted on: 11.05.14 by Digirad

Mobile imaging service is a cost, time, and resource-effective alternative to owning and operating your own Nuclear Cardiology lab, but there are understandably a number of questions around the service. Will I get paid? Are the images any good? Are the technicians qualified? These are good questions and we want to take a moment to address 10 of the most common myths we hear. Here is part two: 6. Mobile imaging is disruptive to my office When Digirad deploys our employees to your practice, they recognize that they are invited into your practice. They proceed with their tasks seamlessly and… more >

10 Myths about Mobile Imaging – Part 1

Posted on: 10.30.14 by Digirad

Mobile imaging service is a cost, time, and resource-effective alternative to owning and operating your own Nuclear Cardiology lab, but there are understandably a number of questions around the service. Will I get paid? Are the images any good? Is the staff qualified? These are good questions and we want to take a moment to address 10 of the most common myths we hear. 1. Portable or Mobile imaging cameras do not provide the same quality images or accuracy as a fixed imaging camera. Digirad’s mobile imaging cameras use digital solid-state circuitry that is more advanced than most other fixed or… more >

Understanding Nuclear Imaging Accreditation

Posted on: 10.23.14 by Digirad

Many practices have questions about the process and cost of accreditation and reimbursement for imaging before offering nuclear imaging services. As a manufacturer of nuclear cameras, and a provider of diagnostic services, Digirad has a deep understanding of the accreditation process. Below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about nuclear imaging accreditation. Do I need to be accredited to be reimbursed? Yes. Practices that offer advanced imaging services, including nuclear imaging, are required to be accredited to receive reimbursement. How long does the accreditation process take? The typical accreditation process is completed in an average… more >

October News Digest

Posted on: 10.01.14 by Digirad

The imaging industry and healthcare in general is continually evolving. It’s important to stay informed about the changes in healthcare that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Here is a look at some recent news articles. 2015 Proposed HOPPS/ MPFS Payment Charts On July 3rd, 2014, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the proposed payment rates on CY2015 for services furnished under the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) and the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Below are two charts that capture proposed RVUs for pertinent codes for CY2015. Continue Reading…   ASNC… more >

Three mistakes to avoid when choosing a heart monitoring provider

Posted on: 09.25.14 by Digirad

Heart monitoring is increasingly a service that physicians are offering as part of their standard of care. Advances in mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) monitoring are making it easier to provide heart monitoring services, and these advances are making the service more effective for patients experiencing heart related issues. With the growth in the market, physicians are seeing an increasing number of providers in the heart monitoring space. So how do you pick the right provider? We’ve put together a few tips on what to look for. Mistake 1: Getting locked into a single technology or manufacturer It’s best to find… more >

Customer Profile: Micah Eimer, MD, FACC

Posted on: 09.17.14 by Digirad

Digirad recently had the opportunity to speak with Micah Eimer, MD, FACC, a cardiologist in Glenview, IL. Here’s what he has to say about the nuclear cardiology services from Digirad. Tell us a little bit about what you do and what led you to Digirad. I had been in private practice for seven years when I was contacted about starting a new cardiology division in the suburbs. We were starting with a blank slate, and one of the major components was nuclear cardiology testing. Because the division was new, and it was unclear what the volume would be, we were… more >

What is ICD-10?

Posted on: 09.11.14 by Digirad

ICD stands for International Classification of Diseases and is a set of codes used by medical providers to standardize the way a diagnosis is recorded. The current version is ICD-9 with the “9” indicating that it is the 9th edition. ICD-10 is the 10th edition, and the change was necessary for a number of reasons. ICD-9 limited the amount and types of data that could be collected, is over 30 years old, and the number of codes that can be created is at its limit. There are two types of ICD-10 codes: ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and ICD-10-PCS for inpatient… more >

Strategies for Meeting the 2014 ASNC Imaging Guidelines

Posted on: 08.27.14 by Digirad

Changes to patient radiation exposure levels are just around the corner. In 2010, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) issued a goal with a deadline of 2014. The nuclear imaging community is challenged to significantly lower radiation exposure in SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging without sacrificing quality before the end of this year. The ASNC recommends three combined approaches to lowering radiation exposure: Appropriate selection of patients Creation of protocols that lessen total radiation exposure Use of equipment and processing methods that achieve the best image quality at the lowest possible radiation dose Click here for more information on these… more >

ASNC Annual Meeting

Posted on: 08.21.14 by Digirad

Visit us at Booth 216! This fall, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology will host its 19th Annual Scientific Section. This renowned four-day event gathers specialized physicians, scientists, technologists, nurses, and many others from around the world.  The conference will be held September 18-21, 2014, at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, MA. ASNC 2014 offers opportunities to meet with leading decision-makers in nuclear cardiology and cardiovascular CT, learn from unparalleled educators, and renew your commitment to the profession with various career enhancement opportunities. Alongside lectures, ethics workshops, panel discussions, and presentations on leading research in the field, you… more >

Getting Started with Mobile Cardiac Telemetry

Posted on: 08.13.14 by Digirad

Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) is a part of the emerging science of wireless monitoring in the health industry. Typically, MCT is used in the identification and treatment of heart conditions. Telerhythmics, LLC, established in 1997, is a 24-hour cardiac event monitoring service provider used on an outsourced basis by hospitals and physician offices. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Telerhythmics provides its monitoring services nationwide. Their goal is to act as an extension of a doctor’s office or hospital system providing top-notch analysis of diagnostic data generated by a patient undergoing MCT monitoring, according to Telerhythmics Vice President and General Manager, Jason… more >

Digirad Diagnostic Services for Nuclear Cardiology

Posted on: 07.31.14 by Digirad

Recently, Digirad had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Glenn Gandelman, a cardiologist with Greenwich Cardiology Associates in Connecticut. Greenwich Cardiology Associates uses Diagnostic Services from Digirad to perform nuclear cardiology imaging at their office. Digirad provides accredited technologists and technicians, and a multi-head mobile camera to perform the studies. How often do you use Diagnostic Services from Digirad? Greenwich Cardiology Associates has been using Digirad’s nuclear service regularly since 2008. The team visits every other week, and they typically scan between 8 and 14 patients per session. How do you like working with Digirad? Their efficiency is really impressive. The… more >

Cesium Iodide: The Future of Solid State Imaging

Posted on: 07.24.14 by Digirad

What is Solid State? Surprisingly, the majority of gamma cameras still used in nuclear medicine today utilize Anger-based technology; vacuum tubes and hygroscopic sodium iodide (NaI) crystals, technologies that are now more than 50 years old. In response to the demands for better sensitivity and high energy resolution, a new generation of solid state pixelated cameras has been developed. Solid state imaging is classified by the absence of vacuum tubes, and replaces antiquated photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) with segmented crystals and semiconductors. The major advantage of these cameras is that they can determine locations with complete certainty. They accomplish this by… more >

Trade-in and Upgrade your Equipment with Digirad’s Technology Refresh Program

Posted on: 07.17.14 by Digirad

Frequent advances in technology, regulatory changes, and reductions in reimbursements can diminish the efficiency and value of your nuclear imaging services. In today’s healthcare market, you need to provide the highest quality at the lowest cost to drive true value for your practice and the patients you serve.  The way you have always done things is likely not the optimal way any more. If you’re looking to get more value from your current equipment, Digirad’s Technology Refresh Program can help you reduce expenses and improve your equipment with no direct expense to your practice. Here are a few things to… more >

Hassle-Free Radiation Safety and Licensing with Digirad

Posted on: 07.10.14 by Digirad

Do you know what it takes to establish a nuclear lab in your office? If you are considering purchasing a nuclear gamma camera or offering nuclear imaging services in your office, be aware that there is a lot more to the process than just researching and buying a new camera. You must ensure that you meet all of the regulatory and safety requirements. Nuclear Imaging Requirements There are a number of requirements for offering nuclear imaging services. It takes a lot of time, a substantial financial investment, and the continual management of a radiation safety program. First, you must obtain… more >

Customer Profile: Diagnostic Cardiology Group

Posted on: 06.24.14 by Digirad

Digirad recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Selcuk A. Tombul and Patti Dennis of the Diagnostic Cardiology Group in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Diagnostic Cardiology Group has been a Digirad customer since 2008, and they use our nuclear and ultrasound services two to three days per week to complement their full-time service. Dr. Tombul and Ms. Dennis spoke to us about their experiences with Digirad and discussed some of the ways that Digirad has accommodated their needs. The Diagnostic Cardiology Group was founded in 2004 by four partners, but they’ve since expanded to include six full-time physicians who provide a… more >

The Digirad Outsourcing Strategy

Posted on: 06.17.14 by Digirad

In early 2013, we made the decision to outsource production of our Digirad Ergo, X-ACT, and Cardius® XPO Series camera modules and gantries. We chose to partner with a local manufacturing company, Spectrum Assembly Inc. (SAI), known for its cutting-edge technology and equipment. This contract manufacturing arrangement allowed us to take advantage of highly specialized technology with both scalability and consistency of quality. Why Outsource? Digirad’s manufacturing partnership with SAI facilitates more efficient use of labor, faster turnaround times, and access to newer, state-of-the art equipment. SAI’s flexible, automated approach yields products with a consistent quality on par with the… more >

The Sustainable Growth Rate Formula – What Does It Mean For You?

Posted on: 06.10.14 by Digirad

What is SGR? The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is a method used to control spending by Medicare on physician services. Based on the previous year’s total and target expenditures, SGR links physician payments to changes in gross domestic product (GDP). The idea behind the sustainable growth rate model is to prevent Medicare spending per beneficiary from growing faster than the US economy. The current Medicare model uses a fee schedule to determine physician payments. Physicians are paid according to the complexity of the services being provided and economic factors such as GDP. The fee that a physician receives is based… more >

Digirad’s Ergo: Improving Pediatric Diagnostic Imaging

Posted on: 06.04.14 by Digirad

Scientific posters are one of the highlights at the SNMMI Annual Meeting, where thousands of medical professionals gather to explore the newest developments in nuclear imaging. This year, Digirad’s Ergo™ Imaging System is featured on a poster created by Michael Czachowski, Marcy Stoecklein, Scott Connors, Jennifer Conver, Thomas Harding, and Ashok Muthukrishnan, M.D. of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) of UPMC, a long-time Digirad customer. The abstract poster, titled “Merits of a solid-state portable camera in a pediatric imaging environment,” explains why CHP chose the Ergo, and the tremendous benefits it has offered to the hospital. Digirad recently spoke with… more >

May News Digest

Posted on: 05.27.14 by Digirad

The imaging industry (and healthcare in general) is continually evolving. It adjusts to changes in standards, advancements in technology, facilities’ requirements, and healthcare regulations. It’s important to stay informed about the changes in healthcare that may impact the development, operation, maintenance, and growth of your imaging services. Here is a look at some recent news articles. Trend Toward Quality and Value The healthcare industry is responding to economic changes primarily with cost-cutting tactics. However, in order to stay competitive, hospitals need to do more than cut costs; they need to re-engineer the way they work. The emphasis is on quality… more >

Understanding Peripheral Neuropathy Disease

Posted on: 05.20.14 by Digirad

Autonomic neuropathy disorders affect involuntary body functions that include heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, and digestion. Damage to the autonomic nerves disrupts signals between the brain and the effected portions of the autonomic nervous system, like the heart, blood vessels, and sweat glands. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is a type of autonomic neuropathy that specifically affects the extremities and causes decreased or abnormal performance to occur within one or more bodily functions. Signs, symptoms, and treatments of PN vary depending on the cause, and on which nerves were affected. Symptoms PN symptoms can cause numbness or reduced sensory abilities. Signs and… more >

Digirad Expands Service Contract Options to Support Philips, GE, Siemens, and More

Posted on: 05.13.14 by Digirad

Do you like the idea of a one-stop option for all your medical equipment service needs? Well, so do we! For your convenience, Digirad provides service options to support various cameras from multiple vendors. Our Camera Support team consists of highly skilled service engineers with an average of 15 years of experience on all major vendors’ SPECT equipment. If you are in need of immediate phone support, expedited parts delivery, or an expert service engineer to be onsite quickly, Digirad is your solution. Which Nuclear Medicine SPECT cameras do we service? Digirad has service agreement options to support all major… more >

SNMMI Annual Meeting

Posted on: 05.06.14 by Digirad

Visit us at Booth 1503! Every summer the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) hosts its Annual Meeting, a five-day conference for medical professionals, scientists, and technologists involved in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. This year the SNMMI Annual Meeting will take place in St. Louis, MO, from June 7-11, 2014. Featuring a variety of specialty workshops, seminars, and exhibitions, the conference is recognized as the premier event for networking and continuing education in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine. This year’s exhibit floor promises to be a highlight of the conference as it showcases a wealth of exhibitors… more >

Digirad Acquires Telerhythmics

Posted on: 03.28.14 by Digirad

Outsourced Cardiac Monitoring Service for Physicians and Hospitals Digirad Corporation announced today that it has acquired all the outstanding membership interest of Telerhythmics, LLC, a 24-hour cardiac event monitoring service used on an outsourced basis by hospitals and physician offices. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, privately-held Telerhythmics provides its monitoring services throughout the eastern region of the U.S. Total up front consideration for the purchase was approximately $3.6 million, which included a $3.47 million cash payment up front and assumption of approximately $131,000 in debt. In addition, there is an earn-out opportunity of up to $501,000 over approximately three years based on meeting certain EBITDA targets. Telerhythmics will continue to… more >

Digirad signs agreement with Spectrum Assembly

Posted on: 10.11.13 by Digirad

Digirad Corporation, the leader in solid-state diagnostic imaging technology and services, announced today that it has signed an exclusive agreement with Spectrum Assembly, Inc. to outsource the manufacturing of its advanced, solid-state nuclear imaging cameras. Digirad President and CEO Matthew G. Molchan said, “This agreement is exactly in line with our continued strategy to focus on driving income, cash flow and growth from our businesses at Digirad. As we have stated previously, we continue to believe our nuclear imaging cameras, with their solid-state design and technology, are well suited to meet the needs of the health-care industry, both domestically and… more >

Digirad featured on MedAxiom

Posted on: 09.20.13 by Digirad

Digirad CEO Matt Molchan was recently featured in an interview with MedAxiom. You can read the article on MexAxiom here or read the interview below. Q: Why have you chosen MedAxiom as a strategic partner? A: As a healthcare products and services innovator, Digirad has successfully worked with some of the leading Practices and Healthcare Systems in Cardiology.  How healthcare will be delivered and our role within the healthcare delivery system makes MedAxiom an ideal strategic partner for our company.  Like MedAxiom, we work with practice executives, administrative leaders, physicians and offices with a goal of improving clinical and business outcomes for… more >

DIS at 2013 ASNC Conference

Posted on: 08.15.13 by Digirad

Digirad Imaging Solutions (DIS) will be exhibiting at the 18th annual Scientific Session of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology Conference. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, IL on September 26 – 29. If you are attending the show, stop by booth #323 and say hello.

Digirad Announces Sale of Surgical Imaging Technology

Posted on: 08.12.13 by Digirad

Digirad Announces Sale of Surgical Imaging Technology Assets to Novadaq Technologies. Agreement Calls for $2 Million of Up Front Consideration, Deferred Contingent Payments, Royalties Digirad Corporation announced today that it has signed an agreement to sell its “Trapper” Surgical Imaging Technology previously under development, as well as license “Trapper” related technology to Novadaq Technologies, a publicly-traded developer of clinically-relevant imaging solutions for use in surgical and outpatient wound care procedures. Under the terms of the agreement, Digirad will receive up front consideration of $2 million and up to $1 million in deferred contingent payments based on the achievement of specific… more >

Digirad CEO Matt Molchan featured on The Street

Posted on: 08.08.13 by Digirad

With Digirad stock up 20% this year, “The Street” in New York recently requested an interview with CEO Matt Molchan to discuss Digirad and its new strategic plan. Click here to view Matt’s interview on The Street >

DIS Adds Neuropathy Testing Program

Posted on: 07.12.13 by Digirad

DIS is happy to announce that we are now offering a comprehensive Neuropathy Testing Program. As with the nuclear and ultrasound programs, the service is provided at your office and can scale to meet your needs. The program consists of nerve conduction tests and uses a Sudo Scan machine to perform the screening. DIS has a team of highly qualified Neurologists who oversee the program. When creating the program, DIS was seeking to create three outcomes. First was to create a neurological baseline for the patient, then to assess damage to the patient’s neurological system and finally to better manage… more >

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